Sangma plans new party for tribals

Shillong, Aug 1: The 2012 presidential poll was not an end in itself but the beginning of a new chapter in the complex Indian political system.
This was the message from the man who had never lost any election in his career until the July 19 presidential poll.
After having fought a losing battle in the bitter war for Raisina Hill, former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma today set the tone for the formation of a new political party, which would be “tribal-centric”, but “open for all”.
Sangma was here to thank the people of his home state, who had supported, voted and prayed for him during the recent presidential poll.
The veteran politician met several state NCP leaders at the residence of leader of the Opposition Conrad K. Sangma.
“The last presidential election had given an opportunity to the tribal people of India to articulate their aspirations and hope. It has brought political awareness to the tribal people and it will be the beginning of a united movement of the tribals for their rights,” the former Lok Sabha Speaker told reporters.
He said on August 9, observed as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, tribal leaders from all over the country will be meeting at Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
They will take stock of the presidential poll and chart a “future plan for the tribals”.
“I will address the gathering to thank all the tribal people and also to call for unity,” Sangma said.
On reports that he will float a new political party, Sangma said, “As of now, nothing has been finalised, as discussions are still going on.”
“The core committee of the Tribal Forum of India will meet soon in New Delhi where a delegation will meet the Election Commission to discuss the possibility of launching a new party, which will be tribal-centric, but open to all,” Sangma said.
The forum had projected Sangma as a candidate during the presidential poll against UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee.
Moreover, he said post-presidential election, he had met tribal leaders from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Assam and consulted them.
Stating that he would never contest any future state election, Sangma said he was not interested to be elected to the Rajya Sabha, as he desired to be voted by the people.
“I may not even contest the Lok Sabha elections from Meghalaya. There are around 50 reserved seats in the country. I can contest from anywhere,” he said.
Conrad, who is the former Lok Sabha Speaker’s younger son, said the entire purpose of today’s gathering was to felicitate the presidential candidate.
On whether the Meghalaya NCP would be marching together with the senior Sangma, Conrad said, “We are still in a consultative mode where a decision would be taken by the majority. We are discussing with everyone concerned.”
The state will be going to the polls in February-March next year to constitute the ninth Meghalaya Assembly.
The state NCP had already announced the list of several candidates who will contest the polls.