SHILLONG, Aug 24 � The self-proclaimed �once most powerful man in the Congress party,� Purno Agitok Sangma, also criticised as a party-hopper, has yet again joined another political party, together with 13 Nationalist Congress Party legislators, here today.
Sangma, at the meeting organised for the formal �merger� of 13 NCP legislators, said, he was beginning a new innings with the �tribal-centric� National People�s Party (NPP) due to his inherent principles.
The thirteen NCP legislators also included his two sons, Conrad (leader of the opposition) and James. However, Sangma�s daughter and Union Minister Agatha Sangma and Thomas Sangma Rajya Sabha member would stay with the NCP.
The former Lok Sabha Speaker was expelled from the Congress party, together with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar in 1999, for opposing Sonia Gandhi�s Prime Ministerial aspirations citing her foreign origin.
Sangma, Pawar and Anwar later formed the NCP in 1999, but differences surfaced in the new outfit and Sangma for a brief period merged the Meghalaya NCP with Mamata Banerjee�s Trinamol Congress in 2005 before returning to the Pawar-led NCP.
However, this time round Sangma was cross at Pawar for not backing his presidential candidature. Sangma said he was faced with this dilemma of taking forward the aspirations of millions of tribals, who wanted to see a tribal president. But, his party threatened him of disciplinary action if he contested, so he quit the party by listening to his conscience.
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition, said, all the 13 NCP legislators would be meeting the Speaker Charles Pyngrope this evening and formally hand over the letter of NCP�s formal merger with the NPP.
The NPP, a State party from Manipur, was registered in 1989 with a book as its symbol. The party has sent six legislators to the Manipur Assembly from 1990.
With today�s merger, the NPP would get a national outlook by shifting its headquarters from Imphal to New Delhi. Sangma is slated to be elected its president.