Former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Congress candidate from Tura, Mukul Sangma is trailing while legacy politician and National People's Party (NPP) candidate Agatha Sangma is leading, according to current trends. The fight between the Sangmas - not related - is one of the key face-offs in the Northeastern states. A lot is riding on the victory for both the sides.
To begin with, former Union Minister Agatha Sangma is veteran politician and Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma's daughter. Agatha Sangma is not only fighting for the seat but also her late father's legacy. "I am here to serve the people. I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by the party, the NPP. I hope the people of Garo Hills will never forget my father for the contribution he has made for them," she had told agency reporters.
PA Sangma's legacy is a tall one to uphold. The late politician is revered in the Northeast for his political acumen and leadership. The fact that PA Sangma held the Tura seat for four decades is proof of the politician's popularity. Agatha Sangma is now seeking re-election from the same seat she once held. She represented Tura in 2009.
After PA Sangma's death, his son and Agatha's brother Conrad Sangma, won the by-election to the seat in 2016. However, he resigned a year later when he won the South Tura Assembly bypoll and eventually went on to become the Chief Minister of Meghalaya. Conrad Sangma, who has been campaigning for his sister, also believes that they won the elections at their worst and that the people of Garo Hills believe in the leadership path shown by PA Sangma.
However, the other Sangma is also not a novice and rose in the politics of the state with PA Sangma's mentorship. Mukul Sangma was not from a political background but managed to rope in his wife, younger brother and daughter into the mires of Meghalaya's politics. As a budding politician, he had caught the mighty PA Sangma's attention who helped him in his early days in Congress. Mukul Sangma has not lost a state legislative assembly election from 1993 onwards. He eventually became the Chief Minister in 2010 and served till 2018.
Like the other Sangma duo who is hoping to get back on track and face the pressure of their father's legacy, Mukul Sangma also has a lot to prove as he is banking on his own past record. "The trust of the people is with me. They know I deliver. They have seen my chief ministership. They have seen me inside the Assembly. And they have also seen the NPP's poor governance. We are confident of a victory," he said earlier.
Agatha Sangma said that the focus has always been on development, yet Mukul Sangma has been criticising his opponent on the same grounds. He had been criticising Conrad for "failing" on many fronts as a Chief Minister and had slammed Agatha Sangma for not voicing the concerns of Tura as its elected representative.