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Late leader 1st from State to receive such an honour
SHILLONG: The Centre on Wednesday named former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma for Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian honour.
The posthumous honour to P.A Sangma, who became the first from Meghalaya to receive the award, has evoked jubilation in the State where his sudden death on March 4 last year created a political vacuum.
It is a moment of joy for the State and will inspire the present leadership to focus on people’s welfare, said former home minister R.G Lyngdoh on Wednesday.
Reacting to the Centre’s decision to confer Padma Vibhushan on late P.A Sangma, Lyngdoh said he was happy that the leader was among the chosen ones.
“It is not just about PA Sangma’s family but about the whole State. I hope that it will inspire the present leadership to look at the welfare of the State rather than having vested interests,” he added.
Senior Congress leader Deborah Marak said if one looks at late Sangma’s political career and his contribution to the people of the State and the nation, he deserved the award.
Late Sangma’s wife Soradini K. Sangma said over phone from Australia that it is an honour for the entire nation, and particularly the North East. “Moreover, it is a recognition for his selfless service,” Soradini said and thanked the Prime Minister for the initiative. Soradini will receive the award.
Senior leader Bindo M. Lanong while stating that Purno needed no introduction said, “I am happy for and proud of the feat of Purno Sangma and the committee that selected the recipients must have found him deserving for the award.”
Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy also said he was “very happy and Purno Sangma deserves the honour”.
There are several Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardees from Meghalaya, but none so far was chosen for Padma Vibhushan.
There was no name for Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian honour, this year. But seven, including late Sangma was accorded Padma Vibhushan for public affairs.
Other recipients of Padma Vibhushan include political leaders Murli Manohar Joshi and Sharad Pawar for public affairs, musician K.J Yesudas (for music), former ISRO chairman Udipi Ramachandra Rao (for science and engineering), spiritual master, yogi and mystic, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (for spiritualism), and late Sunder Lal Putwa, former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh and a BJP veteran for public affairs.
Late Sangma came to the limelight after he was elected the Speaker of the Lok Sabha in 1996 and he occupied the chair till 1998.
He was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from the year 1988 to 1990.
Sangma also unsuccessfully contested the presidential election in 2012 after which he again contested the Lok Sabha elections from Tura seat and won the poll.
However, Sangma, who was also the NPP national president, breathed his last in New Delhi last year at the age of 68 following a heart attack and his son took over the mantle and was elected as the new MP from Tura constituency.