Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma died on 4 March 2016. He was 68 years old. He is survived by daughter Agatha Sangma, former Minister of State in the UPA-led Government and Conrad Sangma, the Leader of the Opposition in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
In independent India’s history, he was the first tribal person to hold the post of cabinet minister in 1995. He was also the first tribal person to become the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1996.
About P A Sangma
• He was an Indian politician and Speaker of the Lok Sabha between 1996 and 1998. In independent India’s history, he was the first member from the Opposition to hold the office of the Speaker.
• In the course of his career, he worked as a lecturer, a lawyer and a journalist before he joined politics.
• Till the formation of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar in 1999, he was part of the Indian National Congress.
• He also founded National People's Party on 6 January 2013 with Book as its National symbol.
• He was a member of the Lok Sabha for nine terms – in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha.
• At the time of death, he was representing the Tura (ST) constituency in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.
• He held various portfolios as part of the Union Council of Ministers including in the Ministries of Labour, Commerce and Industry, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Coal.
• Among the positions he held in various ministries, his stint in the Ministry of Labour earned him much respect especially during initial phase of the liberalization, privation and globalization period in which labour related issues became sensitive.
• As the Union Labour Minister, he headed the Tripartite Indian Delegation to the International Labour Conference in Geneva six times where he proved his mettle repeatedly.
• He was also elected the Chairman of the Asia and Pacific Region for the International Labour Ministers' Conference, 1994-95.
• He organised a Conference of Labour Ministers from Non-aligned and other Developing Countries in 1994-95.
• He was the Chief Minister of Meghalaya between 1988 and 1990. He headed a 48-member Coalition Government in a tumultuous period in the State's political history.
• He unsuccessfully contested Presidential election in which he was defeated by Pranab Mukherjee in 2012.
• During his Speakership, he convened a Special Session of both the Houses of Parliament from 26 August to 1 September 1997 as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of India's Independence.
• Opening the Special Session, for the first time in the Indian parliamentary history, the Speaker addressed the House.
• He was closely associated with various social organisations and educational institutions.
• He was the Editor of a Meghalaya daily, Chandambeni Kalrang. He has also edited two volumes of the book India in ILO.
• In March 1997, he received the Michael John Roll of Honour of the Tata Workers' Union for Distinguished Contribution to the Cause of Labour and to the Parliamentary System.
• He also received from the President of India in May 1997 the Golden jubilee Award of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) for outstanding contribution to the cause of the working class.
• He was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapathi in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya.
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Where: New Delhi
When: 4 March 2016