SHILLONG, July 22 � Former Lok Sabha Speaker, Purno Agitok Sangma is getting both bouquets for his fight as a tribal candidate, as well as brickbats for playing the tribal card in the Presidential elections.
�As a tribal I am sad PA Sangma has not won, but he has shown true leadership qualities and we are proud of him,� a youth from Garo Hills, Sengrak Marak said.
Sangma lost to Pranab Mukherjee in the Presidential polls by a substantial margin, but, for some of his admirers it was proud moment for Meghalaya and its tribal population.
�For someone who is self-propelled I think he did alright by garnering more than 25 per cent of the votes,� former Meghalaya Home Minister, Robert G Lyngdoh said.
Sangma was backed by just four major political parties in the countries apart from smaller regional parties.
He, however, undertook an aggressive campaign throughout the country meeting legislators of different political parties for their support. During his campaign he banked on �conscience vote� and claimed tribal leaders cutting across party lines in the country backed his candidature.
�I voted for Pranab Mukherjee based on my conscience. As a real leader PA Sangma should never have played the tribal card,� Adolf Lu Hitler, one of the NCP legislators in Meghalaya said.
Meanwhile, today till late in the afternoon people remained glued to their TV sets following the counting of votes.
�Previous presidential elections were not as keenly followed as this present Presidential election. This elections was different for its contest and many people came to learn how exactly a President is elected largely due to PA Sangma.� Tengsrang Momin, a local said.
From Meghalaya, however, Sangma could garner just 23 votes valued at 391, while Mukherjee got 34 votes valued at 578.