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The battle of the ladies in Tura

By K Anurag In Guwahati
April 13, 2009 14:26 IST
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In a rare contest between two lady candidates, the country's youngest member of Parliament, 28-year-old Agatha K Sangma of the Nationalist Congress Party, is pitted against Congress nominee Debora C Marak in Tura, Meghalaya.

Agatha is the daughter of NCP leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Aitok Sangma who vacated the Tura Lok Sabha seat in 2008 after he was elected to the Meghalaya assembly. Agatha was elected to the Lok Sabha in the subsequent by-election from Tura, a constituency her father represented in the Lok Sabha for nine terms.

A graduate of law, she now seeks re-election in a constituency where the Sangma family's influence has been unparalled for the last 30 years.

'Even if Sangma fields a stone in the poll, it will win' is the conventional wisdom on Tura's streets.

Marak, a former deputy chief minister, is only 15 years older than the sitting MP.

"My contest is not against Agatha," says Marak. "I am fighting against her father and his misrule."

The NCP is campaigning on the plank that the Congress is behind the imposition of President's Rule in Meghalaya which recently dethroned the NCP-led coalition government.

Marak feels Tura has lagged behind the rest of the northeast because P A Sangma hardly did anything for the constituency or its people all those years he represented it in the Lok Sabha.

"I want to bring about change," says Marak. "It is time for the people of Tura to look for options outside the Sangmas.

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K Anurag In Guwahati