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Meet Conrad Sangma: Music aficionado, welfare activist and Meghalaya’s next chief minister

Conrad Sangma had met the governor Sunday evening and staked claim to form the government in the state, with the support of 34 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

india Updated: Mar 05, 2018 23:58 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Conrad Sangma,Meghalaya,Meghalaya chief minister
Conrad Sangma will be sworn in as the Meghalaya chief minister on Tuesday.(HT File Photo)

When Conrad Sangma is not busy managing the National People’s Party (NPP), he likes to read, listen to music, take long walks, travel and spend time with his family.

However, the NPP national president’s hobbies will have to take a backseat after he becomes Meghalaya’s 12th chief minister on Tuesday. The constitution of his cabinet remains hazy in the midst of negotiations with alliance partners, aides in Shillong said.

The youngest son of former Meghalaya chief minister PA Sangma, he was schooled at St Columba’s in New Delhi and went on to complete his BBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He then obtained his MBA degree from the Tanaka Business School, University of London, in 2004.

The 40-year-old entered Meghalaya politics as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate from Selsella in 2008. He served as the cabinet minister for finance, power and tourism in the United Democratic Party-led government from 2008 to 2009, before it was reduced to a minority and ousted from power.

From 2009 to 2013, Sangma was the leader of opposition in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly. However, he failed to win the support of voters in 2013, losing to the Congress’s Clement Marak from Selsella by a margin of over 2,000 votes.

He returned to electoral politics in 2016, when the Tura Lok Sabha seat fell vacant following the sudden death of his 68-year-old father due to heart attack. Then, taking over the reins of the party founded by his father in 2012, he defeated Congress chief minister Mukul Sangma’s wife Dikkannchi Shira by a margin of over 1.92 lakh votes – the highest in the state’s history.

“Conrad is a very dynamic leader. After their father’s death, he and his elder brother James steered the NPP to greater heights,” said Patricia Mukhim, editor of The Shillong Times.

Due to his keen interest in music, Sangma has organised several musical events in the northeast. A social worker and a successful businessman, he is active in the PA Sangma Foundation that functions in the education and environment sector and runs four rural colleges.

First Published: Mar 05, 2018 23:56 IST