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LS Polls 2024: Its Battle of the Sangmas in Tura Parliamentary seat

First Published: 24th March, 2024 18:48 IST

The fight for the seat is expected to be a triangular one as incumbent MP and CM Conrad Sangma's sister Agatha Sangma will be facing Saleng A Sangma of the

This April 19, the Tura Lok Sabha seat is all set to witness the Battle of the Sangmas.

While incumbent MP Agatha Sangma of NPP who has won the seat twice will be looking to carry forward her father PA Sangma’s legacy who had represented the prestigious seat as an MP 3 times from 1977 to 1989, 1991 to 2008 and 2014 to 2016, TMC’s Zenith Sangma, three-time Rangsakona MLA, former Meghalaya Sports Minister and brother of former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma and Congress’s Saleng Sangma, a three-time MLA from Gambegre, too would throw in their best to win the seat.

If we look at the history of Lok Sabha election in the Tura seat, PA Sangma during his illustrious career has represented the seat for 31 years. Thus PA Sangma seemingly had laid a strong base not only for the parties he had represented (Congress and NCP), but it also in turn has further consolidated the political career of his successor and daughter- Agatha Sangma, who is the incumbent MP from Tura.

PA Sangma’s legacy also saw the emergence and the growth of the National People’s Party (NPP) which he aspired to get the status of a national party.

It was in May 2008 when Agatha Sangma succeeded her father as an MP for a brief period till May 2009.

Agatha Sangma was first elected to the Lok Sabha in a by-election in May 2008, after her father P.A. Sangma resigned from the seat to enter state politics.

Later she was re elected to Lok Sabha in 2009. In 2014, Agatha was again succeeded by her father PA Sangma until his demise in 2016.

Then Conrad Sangma had to contest the by-election from the Tura seat after the demise of his father PA Sangma on March 6, 2016 left the seat vacant. Conrad won the by-election against Congress candidate and wife of former Meghalaya CM Mukul Sangma, Dikkanchi D Shira and made it to the Parliament.

In 2018 Agatha successfully contested the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly election on a National People’s Party (NPP) ticket from the South Tura constituency and polled 6,499 votes.

But she submitted her resignation as member of the House in an attempt to pave way for her brother Conrad Sangma to contest the bypoll from her constituency and become the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and the head of the NPP-led MDA government.

In 2019, Agatha Sangma again retained the seat in the Lok Sabha elections.

At age 29, Sangma became the youngest Member of Parliament ever to be appointeda as an Union Minister.

She was the Minister of State for Rural Development from May 2009 – October 2012 and had resigned from this post during the cabinet reshuffle in October 2012.

So undoubtedly, the Tura Lok Sabha seat is a fortified bastion of the PA Sangma family, a traditional seat of course represented for years and years.

Now coming to the Congress, the grand old party’s presence in the Tura seat was quite strong. From 1977 to 1999 the seat was with the Congress. From 1977 to 1989 PA Sangma represented the seat as a Congress MP. After that Sanford Marak represented the seat from 1989-1991.

From 1991 till 1999 PA Sangma was the Tura Congress MP before he was expelled from the Congress on May 20, 1999, along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar for raising the banner of revolt against Sonia Gandhi over her foreign origin.

But after the exit of PA Sangma from the Congress, the grand old party has never made a comeback in Tura.

This time the Congress has fielded Saleng A Sangma.

Sangma is the former NCP (Meghalaya unit) president and three-time MLA from Gambegre.

The Opposition Trinamool Congress has selected former minister Zenith M Sangma as its candidate for the Tura parliamentary seat.

Zenith Sangma is the brother of TMC leader and former Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma. Zenith Sangma was the sports minister of Meghalaya from 2013 to 2018.

He has been the Rangsakona MLA for three terms – 2003, 2013 and 2018 as a Congress candidate. Zenith Sangma joined the TMC in 2021.

In the 2023 Assembly elections in the state, Zenith Sangma lost the Rangsakona seat by 788 votes.

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