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Updated: May 17, 2012 23:28 IST

It is tribals' turn to become President, says Sangma

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File photo of NCP leader P.A. Sangma and his daughter Agatha Sangma, Minister of State of Rural Development.
The Hindu
File photo of NCP leader P.A. Sangma and his daughter Agatha Sangma, Minister of State of Rural Development.

Thanking BJD and AIADMK for proposing his name for Presidentship, former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma on Thursday appealed to other parties to support a candidate from the tribal community.

Mr. Sangma, however, said Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is considered a front-runner for the ruling UPA’s candidature, is “very highly qualified” for the post but said there are other qualified people and insisted that the President this time should be from among tribals.

“I am very happy about it and I am extremely grateful to both the leaders (BJD’s Naveen Patnaik and AIADMK’s Jayalalithaa). They have been very responsive to our (tribals) aspirations. So on behalf of tribals in India, who are more than 100 million, I would convey my sincere thanks to them,” he said.

He also appealed to other parties to follow suit and support the tribal cause.

When asked whether he will support any other tribal candidate, Mr. Sangma said he was not the only tribal who could be the President. “Anyone tribal. It can be (Tribal Affairs Minister) Kishore Chandra Deo, Arvind Netam (Congress), Kariya Munda (BJP)... it should be a tribal this time.”

In this case, he said, he was not representing NCP but the whole tribals.

“In our group there are MPs and MLAs and former MPs from all parties.... I have spoken to Kishore Chandra Deo and he has said we should fight for our cause, why not? So we are all one. There is nothing like A, B or C political party,” he said.

“We belong to different political parties but we belong to tribal community. We are representing tribal community,” he said.

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Indeed a shame on sangma, a parliamentarian. I never realised that indian presidency also
is couched on quota system. It is 21st century india where mettle matters more than
Sangma promoted his own daughter to be an mp and a minister when she was under thirty.
Unfortunately the indian nation suffers by presence of such leaders in country who have only
self serving vision.

from:  Thrivikramji
Posted on: Jun 5, 2012 at 06:23 IST

The president of India, whoever it may be, is just a ceremonial constitutional head of state with no real power, modeled after the King/Queen of England. As such it is quite reasonable to expect every region of the country to be represented by the position. Thus Northeast of the country does deserve to be represented now, not necessarily by Sangma.

from:  Dr. Sundara Rajan
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 20:15 IST

if one agrees that it is the turn of a tribe to occupy the gubernatorial post of president of india, then let that tribe not sangma.

from:  manoharan
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 17:22 IST

I cant understand why many people in this column are criticizing Sangma
for stating the desire that a tribal should be president.If
lalu,mulayam,congress can shamelessly claim openly that a muslim must be
made president why not sangma can say that a tribal be made the
president.Already india had 3 muslim presidents and 2 vice
presidents.Then why not a tribal.BJP,CONGRESS support Sangma.Media too
should support sangma

from:  chinmay
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 12:56 IST

We need a president whose values integrity and honesty. A person whom the younger generation can look up to. It doesn't matter
whether he is a tribal or not. People at the helm of the affairs
should show more responsibility and maturity. Don't play dirty
politics for the vote bank. We need a society where everyone is
treated equally and fairly. Younger generation should play their
part in politics. We need people who don't go behind vested
interests. The current generation of youth has an indifferent
attitude towards politics. The society needs more thinking youths
to have creative discussion and concrete action.

from:  Joe
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 23:45 IST

It's time to select good candidate for the country top post rather than promoting caste politics.

from:  Gopinath
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 15:06 IST

It's a classic case why India can't get over caste politics. Even though Sangma is a better candidate he spoilt everything by playing the caste card. He doesn't deserve to be a president just because he is a tribal, and he choses to strengthen his case by playing caste card than by listing down his merits. This is a classic case of people not willing to break the shackles of caste and trying to leverage it to their benefit. Since he has already enjoyed all the benefits afforded to Tribals and even achieved high office like Speaker of Lok Sabha, he should classify himself as General Category and let a deserving tribal benefit from it. Thus, he can champion social justice and will be a deserved candidate for the post like President. He should understand that President is above this petty politics. As long as he does not appreciate that, he can't uphold the dignity of the highest office in India.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 14:54 IST

MrP.A.Sangma is a person known for impeccable integrity honesty and sincerity
and had won the affection of all parties during his term as President of the Lok Sabha. There is nothing wrong in reminding the nation that it is now the turn of a person belonging to the tribal community to be considered for the post. Apart from this tribal factor he hails from the North-Eastern region, an important area which from the very beginning, has not been receiving adequate attention from the Centre in matters relating to development of that region. Visits of Ministers from the Centre to that region are generally rare.This time in the larger interests of the nation we need a dynamic person as President with a thorough knowledge of men and matters, capable of giving sound advice at critical times. It goes without saying that Mr Sangma will adequately fit into that role as President.

Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 14:07 IST

May be Mr. Sangama is a suitable candidate for this post,but the way he is heading for it ,is not acceptable.His remarks clearly depicts that he favors casteism and religious politics.A person with such a regional thought can not serve honestly at the national level.It's a high time that an OPTIMISTIC and HONEST person should be made PRESIDENT of INDIA like our former president Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

from:  Pawan Singh
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 14:01 IST

Mr. Sangma does not suggest there should be reservation for "tribals" in titular or executive posts. Moreover, he does not propose himself solely to take the "tribal" mantle in this election. However, as a Brahmin, I totally agree with his logic: having taken pains to appoint various minorities as President, the absence of a post-holder who is "tribal" and a "North Easterner" is a glaring hole. And why should he not highlight this omission when every other vested interest does so, along with their petty and self-serving issues? He is an intelligent politician.

from:  josh
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 14:00 IST

Sangma has the experience and is smart. However he also carries some very serious weaknesses. He has reduced the NCP in the Garo Hills to a family concern. Sangma himself is a member of the Meghalaya assembly. His two sons are also members in the same assembly. Unfortunately for Sangma his brother in law who he had put up as a candidate lost. Sangma's daughter is a member of Parliament from the Garo Hills. In addition to the Sangma family Inc, his financial affairs would need thorough scrutiny before he puts himself up as a candidate for President.

from:  Hilary Pais
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 13:46 IST

>Can we say that we require an INDIAN to be the next President of India rather than specifying Communities, Gender, Location or based on the language he/she speaks. It would be great to see a totally NON POLITICAL party affiliated person to sit in that chair. Why not we the citizens of this country elect our president directly? Would this be implemented? Thanks.

from:  R. Prasanna Venkatesh
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 13:15 IST

Completely support a TRIBAL from the North - East becoming a
President. Those who are against 'identity politics' and say that an 'efficient' person should become prez assume:
a) a Tribal is incompetent
b) the President represents the whole of India and therefore cannot make particular claims of representation
The first argument is racist and discriminatory. The second argument is also false. A President always comes from a PARTICULAR place and represents it. Mukherjee will represent upper-caste Bengalis and Ansari will represent Muslims. Therefore identity cannot be escaped. Given that a person from NE and a Tribal has never been Prez it is a great chance to show how inclusive this nation can be.

from:  Abdul
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 12:54 IST

Though its OK that Mr.Sangma is a presidential candidate and eventually
become the President of India, there is no need for him to play the
tribal card now as President is more or less a ceremonial post. He
should really have used the tribal card for getting minister post which
could be utilized for the uplift of tribal community.

After all, getting a tribal President doesn't mean that destitution of
the community is over.

from:  Lal
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 12:47 IST

IT is a very good proposal by Naveen Patnaik and Madam JayLALITA.Mr
sangama is a man of personality.

Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 09:17 IST

PA.Sangma,being a tribal leader and a former speaker of India,an
independent and taintless,seem a right candidate for the President
ship of India.He belongs to Meghalaya state in the North East part of
India.He is the proud tribal of India. The BJP and the Congress should
demonstrate their national spirit in suporting him this
time.Hindus,Moslems,Women,Brahmin and Dalit,Northern and Southern have
so far adorned the presidentship.It is turn for the north eastern part
to represent India.Unless he withdraws voluntarily,whether he win or
loose the election,it will have its own impact on the unity and
politics,integrity,secularism of India.Rightly Jayalalithaa,Biju
Patnaik have supported him. The Nation should consider his name this
time,for the sake of unity and integrity of India.Vice-President,this
time should necessarily come from southern states,if the president is
from the northern states.Sharad Pawar of NCP should take blame if
something goes wrong in his selection,as he ignored him.

from:  sundaram
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 07:45 IST

I too wholeheartedly endorse Mr P A Sangma's candidature for
Presidentship. He is an upright individual, mature, very patriotic,
erudite and has a very clean image.
However, I DO NOT endorse his candidature because he is from a tribal community.While I'm not privy to his private thoughts, I feel it is so demeaning to his self respect. Do we really have a "this time it's the turn of so-and-so community" clause in appointing a new President?

from:  Mani Menon
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 06:47 IST

PA Sangma is a good candidate irrespective of his tribal background and everyone knows that. Why should he specifically play the tribal card here? It irritates me when I see Indian politicians playing caste card all the time. People please get over it, everyone is educated and people can understand your rhetoric.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: May 18, 2012 at 00:13 IST

why not have the most qualified person be the president? Use the internet to elect. I think will we appoint a tribal or a muslim
as the CEO of a company? yes provided they are qualified. Religion, race, tribal/non tribal shouldnt not matter. May the best qualified person be the president. I think Abdul Kalam will be a very good candidate since he has the respect of the people.
Why not have a web site kalamforpresident?

from:  Ranga
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 23:33 IST

The heart aches looking at the sorry state of Indian political
machinery. The president is supposed to be the first citizen of
India and is the face of our country. The Indians have suffered a
lot embarrassment with the nepotism and embezzlement charges
which have beleaguered the current president. Further if caste
politics start for electing our new president it will forever vitiate the sanctity of the presidential. Since out leaders have
decided that the post of President is a trophy which is to be
given out, I hope at least qualifications and prior achievements be the criteria for it. Imagine Mrs Pratibha Patil dealing with
the likes of Obama, Putin or Wen Jiabao ! Please don't let the
country suffer this embarrassment again for the next five years.

from:  Sridhar
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 23:24 IST

God knows when India will come out of the cast politics.

from:  Suryakant Herlekar
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 23:01 IST

i want to become the president

from:  rajmahinder singh
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:57 IST

great idea. what difference it is going to make from present scenario. you and the entire political clan will make us dance naked to your tunes.

from:  Sumesh R Bhat
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:44 IST

BJP has become a hostage of a few corrupt,antinational, Sonia Gandhi's agents and thus beneficiaries of major scams.Their strategy is to weaken the Party by maligning the image of its honest, strong and dedicated leaders like Narendra Modi,Yediurappa and many more in the states of Jharkhand,Chhattisgarh,Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh,Haryana,Delhi etc.Uma Bharti, Madan Lal Khurana and many others too were victims of the same caucus.
Time has come for BJP's honest,dedicated and patriot workers to come out bravely to get rid of Traitors likeJaitly,Sushma,Yashwant Sinha and a few more rotten stuff even at the cost of horizontal bifurcation of the Party.

from:  kuldeep sehdev
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:34 IST

I would be delighted with Mr Sangma as President, but I have a feeling
the Mukherjee lobby is too powerful, notwithstanding such photo-ops
highlighted by the Hindu featuring Mr Sangma and his perky daughter.

from:  Iyer
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:27 IST

Good idea noble thought.

from:  avinash
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:27 IST

Let us not bring quote system in choosing Presidents based on region,
caste and religion. On most occasions in the past Presidential role has
been more of formality than a decisive authority. In today’s state of
affairs we need President who can make a change for betterment. Mr.
Sangma was one of the best Lok Sabha speakers we had in last 20 years
and he is an eligible choice by all means, but Mr. Sangma lacks clarity
on political issues and he is not a great thinker, hence I don’t think
he is type of President India needs now

from:  Venkat Raja
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 22:08 IST

The Chief Ministers of Odisha and Tamil Nadu are to be congratulated
for nominating Mr Sangma (originating from a tribal community in a
less developed part of India, a catholic minority): it widens the
choice of candidates, and in a country deeply committed to positive
discrimination and quotas based on
caste/tribe/community/religion/minority, the nomination is not only
just and overdue, but also innovative and imaginative. That Mr Sangma
has a long and distinguished parliamentary track record and other
qualifications are to his credit and should win over any sceptics or

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 21:31 IST

Don't we have any eminent person outside political class. Looks like we are again under colonialism of political class (read congress). Please stop using constitutional offices as spoil to satisfy loyalists/kiths and kins. The lable of tribal/woman/dalit etc are highly misused to satisfy personal aspirations rather than representing the class.

from:  Abhishek Garg
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 21:16 IST

Post of president has become like Draupadi...Sometime Tribal will honour it...some time a SC...some time OBC...some time Forward caste...The more we curse our democratic system more worse it becomes. Why a tribal should become president? How it will help India and Indians -> That should be the deciding factor and not wait of turn.

from:  Avinash Baranwal
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 21:07 IST

Post of president has become like Draupadi...Sometime Tribal will honour it...some time a SC...some time OBC...some time Forward caste...The more we curse our democratic system more worse it becomes. Why a tribal should become president? How it will help India and Indians -> That should be the deciding factor and not wait of turn.

from:  Avinash Baranwal
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 21:07 IST

whatever little respect Sangma-ji earned as speaker he is trying to cash
in. I believe he has already belittled himself by canvassing for himself
under the disguise of "Tribals". May be the presidents post itself has
been belittled by the present incumbent and that's why Mr. Sangma feels
he is now "Qualified".
Cashing in the little respect will only result in "Insufficient Funds".

from:  Shankar
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 21:04 IST

Advance Congratulation to Mr.Sangma.Let India demonstrate that it is
truly a secular democratic republic to the world.He did well as
Speaker of the Lok Sabha.He is taintless. He belongs to tribal clan.
He belongs to North East. He can be a successful president of India.
If the President is from the North, the vice-President should
necessarily from the South.BJP need to support Sangma.It supported a
Muslim last time.It is turn for non-hindu,non-moslem to be elected as
President of India. Patnaik and Jaya have done a great service to
India in having supported him.BJP and others including Congress
should support him as he is representing the tribals of India.

from:  sundaram
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:58 IST

It's a great step towards democratic values as every community should
get its presentation in government. But the most haunting question
that will this step fetch some sort of development to the needful
section of our country viz tribal areas and north eastern India
remains unanswered.Merely holding the highest post of this country
would not suffice, what we need is ground development;it does not
matter who the President is and that may be done without choosing Him
from the underdeveloped area and community.History also satiate the
identical idea as U.P.has produced more than half a dozen PMs but is
still counted among the least developed state.

from:  Prafulla Kumar Rai
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:57 IST

Are these politicians, present and former, out to divide this country on the strength of cast and religions? The president of the largest democracy, according to these politicians, has to be a ST, a SC, a Muslim, a Woman, or anyone of such category, and not an efficient man, a man par excellence. Though ironic, yet a man is adjudged by his birth, like the cattle, and not by his excellence. They only can bring us, the Indians, shame and sorrow, in the eyes of the developed world. I would pray to the almighty, these politicians change for wider mental space, leaving aside the shallow gains.

from:  Shib Sankar Mukherjee
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:37 IST

Hahaha ... Mr. Sangma, this is not a game of musical chairs.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:31 IST

That argument is so self serving. How does making a rich and powerful
person already enjoying all the privileges and luxuries from any
community be beneficial to the country's cause? This shows how parochial
and self-serving our leaders, very sorrily "our elected" leaders, are.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:24 IST

yes kishore deserves.

from:  pappuhrao
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:13 IST

why ask or vote in the name of "tribe, caste, religion, sex" etc
why can't it be based on education, qualification, age and clean background and strong-growing???

from:  Prasad
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:08 IST

Where is India headed?!
Country's most respected post is treated like a carrot to please one or the other community, last time it was to please "women" and this time it is up for grabs for "tribal community".
I am in no way negatively biased against tribal community or women, however the way Presidents are selected these days, it demeans stature of this post.
Any person with good credentials, worthy of this seat should be made President, but a candidate nominated to please certain section of the society is and should be totally unaccepatble. We have already had our share of dummies sitting at the top; including the current president (pardon me for saying this).
I, as any other Indian, don't remember even a single incidence where our honourable President made her presence felt or any speech/text from her which made me feel proud of our country, or motivated me to challenge myself for this country.
President is the Supreme Commander of all forces - lets honor that honor! Jai-Hind !!

from:  Nitin
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:03 IST

What is this? Now people are bringing reservation and caste for president also. The person who is more eligible get that post. Why they are pulling "TRIBAL " word in this. What the hell is going on?

from:  Amit
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 20:00 IST

I think Mr. Sangma opened the wrong can of worms. Even without the tribal ticket
he was a pretty strong candidate. Making it a tribal cause can have unwanted
complications. It will put a pressure on political parties to vote for him. If you do
you are a tribal friendly party and if you don't you are anti tribal. In case he or any
other tribal candidate wins it will be a great moral boost for the Tribals which I
welcome. But in case he looses it may send a message to the tribal community that
the Indian polity does not want a tribal President. That is not good for the current
situation in the country and will feed more wood to the maoist cause. Moreover
such commets keep dividing out nation into communities which I personally don't

from:  Arpan
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:54 IST

While choosing the head of the state caste and creed should no be considered. We can choose any body from any religion. But the concerned man is above politics and true secular and lead the country in trouble times.

from:  Rajan
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:54 IST

I would like to ask 1 question to Mr. Sangma.Whether being coming tribal community proves him the most suitable candidate for presidentship ?

Are politician not planning for some OBC,SC/ST reservation plans for this president election?

Such politicans can't be even considered for such a prestigious post who are bringing caste/religion/clans for president post also.

from:  Rajesh Ray
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:51 IST

Sangma himself knows that he is not the most suitable candidate to become
President. But in India, if a person like Pratibha Patil can become
President, any Tom, Dick & Harry can aspire to become President. It is the
duty of our legislators to ensure that any mediocre person is not selected
for the top-most position. He must be highly qualified, intelligent,
relatively younger and with modern outlook. He should have capacity to
look beyond caste, religion and politics.

from:  RJ Sawant
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:44 IST

Its all good
But don't you guys think, an Indian president runner should abstain from
making comments like "represents the tribal community"....
Indian President represents the whole of India not just the tribal
And anyway who invented the word tribal? The use of the word in the
present socio-polity scenario to refer to a certain group of people is
itself is derogatory.

from:  James Basumatary
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:41 IST

As a resident of the north eastern region of India,i am very glad to know that some of the political members have chosen honorable P.A.Sangma to be the candidate of the presidential election. He is the only one candidate from the north eastern region, according to me, who can compete with other highly qualified candidates.As he says, the tribals should, without fail, support him.

from:  Nirmal thiyam
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:26 IST

It's pity that Sangma is trying to play tribal card. Shame on you!! Community politics now runs into the veins of Indian politics. If this stance continues only more corruption disasters loom for Indian public. Good luck!

from:  Sanjeev
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:19 IST

Sangma says it is the turn of tribals and saying that he is promoting himself. There are better tribal stalwarts than Sangma and he has already tasted power and he wants more. It is time we think of a good candidate for President without any formulae or clicks and each one claiming himself in the interest of the groups. Probably Jaya was influenced by Naveen to agree for Sangma and she may have a broader perspective on the subject. You see Sangma has eliminated Pranab saying that he is over qualified for the post of President. He only knows whether he is complimenting Pranab or belittling the post of President. It appears that even God Almighty cannot save our country in the present state of affairs.

from:  Vaipar
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 19:18 IST

Sikhs, Muslims, Dalits... have occupied the presidents' chair,,
Dignitaries from North, South and West have become President of
this Great country. Even after more than 60 years of independence
none from the North-East region have been elevated to that post.
Its High time a tribal from North-East is Put in that Chair. It
will be a Justice done and to a large extend helps in National
Integration. Mr. Sangma had Proved himself as a competent person
during his stint as speaker of Lok Sabha, and have had myriads
experiences in the political life of this nation both at the centre
and the state. Countrymen lets' give this person a Chance for that
Constitutional Post!!

from:  garg
Posted on: May 17, 2012 at 18:53 IST
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