Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma died of a heart attack here today. He was 68. Parliament sources said the end came this morning after he suffered a heart attack.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of his death in the House, which was adjourned for the day.
While expressing deep grief over Sangma’s passing away, Mahajan said he knew how to run the House with a smile and “I learnt this from him.”
“A man of masses, Sangma strove relentlessly for the amelioration of the marginalised sections,” the Speaker said.
Condoling the death of Sangma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was “a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the North East is monumental. Saddened by his demise.”
Sangma’s tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker “is unforgettable. His down-to-earth personality and affable nature endeared him to many,” he said, adding “Sangmaji was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose.”
Sangma was a nine-time member of Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha. He had also held important portfolios in the central government.
He was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the assembly from 1990 to 1991.
Born on September 1, 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya, Sangma grew up in the small tribal village and struggled hard to rise in life.
After completing his graduation from St Anthony’s College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
A Congressman who was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), was expelled from it in July 2012 when he refused to accept his party’s decision to quit the race for India’s President. In January 2013, he had formed the National People’s Party.