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Fighting Mukul a challenge but NPP will emerge winner: Agatha

Former Union minister and National People’s Party candidate for Tura Lok Sabha seat, Agatha K. Sangma says Former Union minister and National People’s Party candidate for Tura Lok Sabha seat, Agatha K. Sangma says  she has matured and learnt a lot from when she first became Member of Parliament a decade back. Now 38, the  daughter of the legendary Purno A Sangma takes pride in how people respect and still remember her father as the tall leader he was.In an exclusive interview with Saurav Borah at her posh Dakopgre residence in Tura before heading for a campaign at Rangsakona, Agatha candidly admits she has a challenge in Congressman and former chief minister, Mukul Sangma as her prime opponent this time but also believes that with “pure intentions” to serve the people, the mandate will be in her favour.

Here are excerpts from the interview:
ST: How is your campaign for the polls going?
Agatha: We are going full fledged now…I am extremely confident that the people’s mandate will be in our favour.

ST: Are you invoking your father in your campaign?
Agatha: Yes I am. But people have always remembered him with fondness and respect. They have always voted for my father. They have faith in me as well and see a reflection of him in me. However, I can never be like him…they are very big shoes to fit into…but I am going to try my best and have come here with very good intentions. I love my state and people.

ST: Would like to be seen contesting the polls as the legendary PA Sangma’s daughter or just as Agatha Sangma?
Agatha: Both…I will never be complete without him. So I carry that with me every time.

ST: Do you see a greater challenge this time given that a heavyweight like Mukul Sangma is in the contest?
Agatha: It is a challenge, obviously…elections are always unpredictable…but I always try to give my best to win.

ST: If you win, what will be your agenda for Tura constituency?
Agatha: My agenda has always been development and to address issues of the youth…I think this s a generation which is going to face many challenges in terms of employment. So we have to look at innovative ways to engage them.

ST: You have not completed full term as parliamentarian or minister. There has been a hiatus as well since you vacated your South Tura seat last year. How far has your connect with people been affected?
Agatha: “I am always available to the people…but of course if I am not in parliament or Assembly, then obviously the connection will not be as frequent because people come to you with expectations. But when I was MLA in South Tura, I had a connection with the people…which is still there.
ST: Are you adhering to the free and fair contest your father believed and pursued?
Agatha: Yes. We (NPP) don’t believe in negative campaigns as we have always spoken about issues that concern the people and about development. We have always touched upon what we will do and what we are doing.
ST: From a 27-year-old parliamentarian to now, do you feel confident and mature as a politician?
Agatha: (Smiles) Yes, I am more mature now. Over the years I have learnt a lot.

ST: Tura has not developed like Shillong. Why is it so?
Agatha: Shillong being the headquarter since time immemorial has an advantage…But I think even Tura has a lot of potential…now that we have the opportunity to make those changes being in the government and God willing if the mandate is in our favour, then we will have representation at the Centre. It will allow us to bring in more development. My party is a party with a vision for the state. So I think my role is to help consolidate the work done so far. I will be giving my best as MP. I also have a wonderful team and I look forward to working with my party.

ST: Lastly, your party/family has been accused of adhering to dynastic politics by the Opposition. How would you react to that?
Agatha: Yes, that happens before every election. But when I was in the fray for the South Tura Assembly election last year, I contested as not just the daughter of PA Sangma but also as somebody who would serve the people. And I think people chose me for that combination and I take pride in that.

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