It’s been just a little over a month when chief minister Mukul Sangma broke down in the state assembly. The emotion was so high that he was not able to continue his obituary speech Purno Sangma. He uttered every possible words then and thereafter for the iconic politician from the North-east. But, things change in politics very fast. For Mukul’s wife Dikkanchi D Shira, now in race for the Tura Lok Sabha seat left vacant by Purno, he is a ‘lost chapter’ in Garo Hills politics. Relevance of her comment is understood in view of the Purno Sangma’s family seeking sympathy vote for his son Conrad Sangma.

It does not matter whether Dikkanchi, also a Congress legislator, is right or wrong while terming Purno Sangma a ‘lost chapter’. But it is essential to understand that the National People’s Party (NPP), founded by the late leader, will play the sympathy card extensively. Purno Sangma’s wife Soradini, who was not much visible in election campaigns of her husband, is accompanying the son in every meeting. The NPP has a clear agenda to project her face in order to garner sympathy for Conrad. The elections speeches of NPP leaders are not least about the ‘misrule’ of Congress and the NPP’s plan to ‘rescue’ the people. They are all about Purno Sangma’s ‘contribution’ to the people of Garo Hills and his ‘deep love’ for them.

On the other hand, Congress, which has not won the seat for nearly two decades, will definitely try to block a possible emotional surge in favour of Conrad. So Dikkanchi was politically correct in terming Purno a ‘lost chapter’ although her husband Mukul felt so ‘deeply’ about his former bête noire. But, that’s the best Congress can say about Purno Sangma at this stage. The party cannot afford to criticise the late leader anymore. So it has devised a new tool of taking on the BJP at the Centre for its ‘divisive politics’. Mukul has made no secret about it. None of the two parties have put the issues of Garo Hills on the front. While NPP is banking on sympathy votes, the Congress plan is to play the communal card. Voters beware!

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on April 29, 2016)