New Delhi, March 9: Members of parliament from the north east on Wednesday paid tribute to former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma, who passed away on March 4, at a condolence meeting organised by the Northeast MPs' Forum (NEMPF).
Addressing the meeting at the Parliament Annexe here, Sikkim Lok Sabha member P.D. Rai, who is the secretary-general of NEMPF, gave a brief account of Sangma's life and contribution to the nation, remarking Sangma would be remembered as the man who ran parliament with a smile.
Nagaland MP and NEMPF vice chairman Neiphiu Rio also paid rich tributes to Sangma and two-minute silence was observed.
Rai also read out a condolence message on behalf of the NEMPF.
"May his ever-smiling demeanour, his humour and his magnanimity remain in our minds, as a reminder of what can be achieved by hard work and staying the course in spite of all odds," he said.
Stating that Purno in many languages meant complete, the condolence message said that the nine-time Lok Sabha member, including speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha (1996-98) was a political stalwart and a man of the masses.
"He also served with distinction while leading various ministries in the central government. As the chief minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990, he was instrumental in enabling the state to achieve rapid growth," it said.
As speaker, it said Sangma achieved a string of firsts - first to be unanimously elected, the first from the opposition, the youngest (at 49 years), and the first tribal.
"We, the MPs of the northeast, have had the pleasure of working closely with Sangmaji in the NEMPF. Under his chairmanship in the 16th Lok Sabha, the NEMPF championed several issues important to meet the aspirations of the people of the northeastern region," Rai said in the message.
NEMPF was formed in 1994-95 during the 10th Lok Sabha with Sangma taking the lead.