Purno Agitok Sangma: A Giant Sonia-baiter of a tiny state

  • Nadeem (HindustanTimes.com), PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Feb 20, 2003 13:47 IST

Former Speaker of Lok Sabha, former Chief Minister of Meghalaya, six-time MP and 11-time Union Minister, Purno Agitok Sangma (55) today stands tallest among all the leaders in the tiny state of Meghalaya. However, over the years he has come to be known more as a leading non-BJP Sonia-baiter than anything else. Even his basic traits as a lecturer, lawyer and journalist have more or less been forgotten.

Despite being associated with the Congress since early 1970s, he had quit the party before 1998 general elections objecting to Sonia Gandhi becoming its president despite her foreign origin. A vehement opponent of any person of foreign origin taking over top jobs in India, he later joined National Congress Party  floated by another senior Congress leader Sharad Pawar, who too had quit the party over Sonia and her foreign origin row.

The BJP-led government at the Centre, impressed by his stand viz a viz Sonia, included him in the Constitution Review Commission. However, he resigned the panel on March last year after failing to push through his suggestion for a Constitutional amendment for excluding persons who are not natural-born citizens of India from access to high constitutional positions.

Five members of the panel voted in favour of Sangma’s suggestion  while an equal number voted against it. The panel Chairman Justice MN Venkatchaliah opted not to cast his vote and it was decided to maintain status quo on the issue forcing Sangma to quit the panel.

He, however, continues to stick to his stand on the foreign origin issue and still enjoys a lot of clout in Meghalaya. An MP in the present Lok Sabha from Tura seat in Meghalaya, he has reportedly announced to oppose Congress in the state and it may influence the outcome of the February 26 polls.


Father's Name:    Late Shri Dipchon Ch. Marak

Date of Birth:      1 September 1947

Place of Birth:    Vill. Chapahati, Distt. West Garo Hills (Meghalaya)

Marital Status:    Married on 6 June 1973

Spouse's Name:   Mrs Soradini K Sangma

Children         :   Two sons and two daughters

Educational Qualifications  

B.A (Hons.), M.A, LL.B, educated at St. Anthony's College, Shillong and Dibrugarh University (Assam)

Profession      :   Lecturer, Lawyer and Journalist

Permanent Address  

Hawakhana Nehru Ading, P.O. Tura, 
  Distt. West Garo Hills (Meghalaya)
  Tel. (03651) 42825

Present Address   

34, Aurangzeb road,
 New Delhi-110011
Tels. (011) 3016212, 3017785

Positions Held 
1973-76:  Vice-President, Pradesh Youth Congress, Meghalaya

1974-75:  General-Secretary, Pradesh Youth Congress, Meghalaya

1975-80:  General-Secretary, Pradesh Congreess Committee (Indira) Meghalaya

1977     :  Elected to 6th Lok Sabha

1980     :  Re-elected to 7th Lok Sabha (2nd term), Joint Secretary, All India Congress Committee (Indira)

1980-82 :  Union Deputy Minister, Industry

1982-84 : Union Deputy Minister, Commerce

1984     :  Re-elected to 8th Lok Sabha (3rd term)

Nov-Dec :  Union Deputy Minister, Commerce

1985       : Union Minister of State, Commerce and Supply during Jan-March 
 and Union Minister of State, Commerce during March-Sep.

1985-86  : Union Minister of State, Home Affairs

1986-88  : Union Minister of State, Labour  (Independent Charge)

1988-91  : Member, Meghalaya Legislative Assembly

1988-90  : Chief Minister, Meghalaya

1990-91  : Leader of the Opposition, Meghalaya Legislative  Assembly

1991       : Re-elected to 10th Lok Sabha (4th term)

1991-93   : Union Minister of State, Coal (Independent Charge)

1993-95   : Union Minister of State, Labour (Independent Charge)
Feb-Sep   : Union Cabinet Minister, Labour

1995-96   : Union Cabinet Minister, Information and Broadcasting

1996        : Re-elected to 11th Lok Sabha (5th term)

1996-98   : Speaker, Lok Sabha

1998        : Re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha (6th term)

1998-99  : Member, Committee on External Affairs and its Sub-Committee-I

Literary Activities

Edited the book entitled 'India in I.L.O' (two volumes), Literary, Artistic and Scientific Accomplishments, Editor, Chandambeni Kalrang - a local daily

Favourite Pastime and Recreation   

Reading, discussions and listening to Western and Indian music


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