From the 49-year-old Indian parliamentary understanding, the Eleventh Lok Sabha collectively elected a member from the Opposition, as the Speaker of Lok Sabha, P.A. Sangma, an Indian Politician and co-founder of Nationalist Congress party, in a noteworthy departure. He heightened to the elevated office of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha from a menial beginning in a small tribal village in Meghalaya.
Purno Agitok Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapahati in the West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya
in North East India. From the very early life young Sangma substantiated that to rise in life he would have to struggle hard as he has grown up in the small tribal village. He went to Dibrugarh University
for his Masters degree in International Relations, after finishing his graduation from St. Anthony`s College. Afterward, he also incurred a degree in Law.
A man of many parts, Sangma in the course of his career, is have been, a lecturer, a lawyer and a journalist before he joined politics. His political life commenced as a worker of the Congress Party and his rise has been phenomenal through the ranks of the Party. Sangma`s emergence to the national political scenario occurred when the country was preparing for the Sixth General Elections in 1977. From the Tura constituency in his home State, he was elected to the Lok Sabha
on the Congress ticket. By that time the nation was going through a major political alteration with the Congress Party losing power at the Center for the first time since Independence. The 30-year-old Sangma inscribed the entranceways of Parliament at that juncture. It was indeed an opportune moment for a promising parliamentarian to make his mark and the coherent Sangma made full use of the opportunity to make an impact as a sincere and hard-working member.
Sangma is a man who had a noteworthy apprehension, particularly of his home state, of the political realities of the entire North East. From 1977, he was in Delhi and busy in national politics, though, he never cut himself off from his roots and always kept track of political developments back home. It was this thorough understanding which made the Congress Party leadership to demand his services for Meghalaya in 1988, of the State politics.
Sangma, without a doubt, had the entire testimonial for the august office legal training, long experience as a parliamentarian as well as a minister, standing for impartiality, transparency, humility and wit and wisdom. He accomplished his task with such flair and assurance, from the time he assumed the office of the Speaker; it seemed that expertise of the job came to him automatically. He was known for having a unique approach to parliamentary reforms. As a Speaker, the members even in the midst of stormy debates observed rules ensured by him. He observed parliamentary democracy, meant free debate, objective discussions and healthy criticism. It is the Speakers job to ensure that these objectives were accomplished.
Sangma believed, in order to uphold high traditions in parliamentary life, members of Parliament were required to maintain standards of conduct, both inside the House and outside. One of the considered views of him was of that the ethical value that ought to saturate the legislative; the executive and the judicial wings of the constitutional system had a deep and lasting impact on the character, direction, credibility and future of democratic governance. An 8-member Study Group of the Committee of Privileges was constituted during Sangma`s tenure as Speaker, in a move, which won panegyrics from all quarters. The committee was formed in order to report on Ethics and Standards in Public Life. The Committee of Privileges considered report of The Study Group, and then adopted with some rectifications. To the Twelfth Lok Sabha the report was later presented.
From 26 August to 1 September 1997, Speaker Sangma took another major commencement. It was the convoking as part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of India`s Independence of a Special Session of both the Houses of Parliament. The Session for the future set a National Agenda and took stock of the achievements. In the Indian parliamentary history, opening the Special Session, for the first time the Speaker addressed the House and emphasized the need for a second freedom struggle-"freedom from our own internal contradictions, between our prosperity and poverty, between the plenty of our resource endowments and the scarcity of their prudent management, between peace and tolerance and the current conduct sliding towards violence, intolerance and discrimination".
Sangma as an exceptionally popular Presiding Officer has been appreciated for his knowledge of rules and even more than for his intrinsic understanding of parliamentary traditions. The Lok Sabha once again with the General Elections of 1998 saw Sangma returning to and presently, he is one of the most communicative and venerable speakers in the Opposition benches, listened to by all with respect and attention.