The Nationalist Congress Party slammed the BJP-led NDA for not respecting the National People’s Party (NPP) and then NCP leader late Purno Agitok Sangma, one of the tallest political leaders in the country.
NCP national general secretary and Rajya Sabha MP, Praful Patel told reporters here that the NCP had the highest regard for late Purno Sangma and his family when he was with the party.
Patel recalled that when late Sangma’s daughter, Agatha K Sangma became an MP, it was the NCP’s decision at the highest level that decided who should be in the UPA government, as the NCP was an ally that time.
“Out of sheer respect not only for late Sangma and his daughter, but respect the people of Meghalaya who had supported him and the NCP,” Patel said, adding that he was pained that late Sangma who formed the NPP and became the Lok Sabha MP and part of the NDA government, was not given the respect.
“The BJP and the NDA should have given somebody in the stature of late Sangma important position in the government from the Northeast. He was a respected leader and dear friend. As representative of minority and tribal community, and for somebody who has held the post of Lok Sabha Speaker, he was not given the respect. I am sure he (late Sangma) was not dying to have the post of minister. But he did not get the respect he should have got, and was nowhere visible in the NDA,” Patel said.
Stating that late Sangma was a tall leader, Patel said that there was no acrimony between late Sangma the NCP.
Patel assured that the NCP under Saleng Sangma’s leadership as president, would provide the right platform for candidates to be able to go to the people and win their hearts and work for the betterment of Meghalaya.
The NCP leader alleged that under Congress rule, there has been “mis-governance of the highest order” and the people of Meghalaya were disillusioned with the ruling party, and looking for a change in the upcoming elections.
Patel informed the NCP would contest 22 of 24 seats in Garo Hills and at least 20 seats of 36 seats in Khasi-Jaiñtia Hills.
The NCP win two seats in the last 2013 Assembly elections and the MLAs supported the Congress-led government.
Patel, however, alleged that the ruling Congress did not respect the NCP as a partner, and failed to give its due (ministerial berth).
“We are absolutely clear that we are not going to align with any national parties including the Congress, but we will have some understanding with regional parties. We are fighting the elections on our own,” Patel said, adding that like-minded parties from the secularism point of view can however work together in future.
On the BJP in Meghalaya, Pat??el said, “They (BJP) are not in a position to win the hearts and minds of the people of Meghalaya.”
He added, “Meghalaya is a very peace loving and a homogenous State. With divisive politics visible at every level right from food habits to religious and cultural beliefs, I am sure that the people of Meghalaya will outrightly reject these kinds of infringement.”