"I’ll be constitutional, not a rubber stamp"
PS: No, I was not in the race. But on the 9th of this month, in the constitutional club, there was an adivasi sammelan, in that gathering we have passed a proposal. In the 60 years of India’s republic, every class of people, be it scheduled class, muslim, sikh, women have become the President of the country. But, till today no adivasi has become Prime Minister. And there are more than 10 crore adivasi in the country.
PC: 10 Crore
PS: Yes, certainly, More than ten crores.
PC: It is approximately 8 to 9 per cent of the population
PS: Certainly, that is why we kept this proposal, in which it was said, we will me leader of every political party, and tell them that this time the adivasi candidate must be considered, that is all.
PC: How did your name come up?
PS: I met Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalitha, I had gone to meet her three – four days ago, and I spoke to Navin saab, Orrissa chief minister on phone and he said that the next president must be an adivasi. They asked who all are the candidate, I said that we have names of at least six candidates, one is SC Jamir, five time chief minister of Nagaland, Maharashtra Governor, Goa governor, he is from the Congress party. The second name we have given is Kishore Chandra Deo, he is from Congress, is the tribal affairs minister,
PS: is Maharaja also, and third name was Arvind Neram, he too is from Congress, fourth is Kariya Munda, of BJP, he is the deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha now, after that my name was also there, former speaker. Some people, this time, said that the president should be a non political person. If non political has to be taken then we also have non political candidate.
PS: JM Lyngdoh. He was the chief election commissioner. The name of Quraishi is also in the fray, because he is chief election commissioner, when Quraishi name can be considered why not JM Lyngdoh. We have given this six names to everybody. We are ready with any of the six names that political parties choose.
PC: But who suggested your name, Jayalalitha?
PS: Jayalalitha, Naveen Patnaik.
PC: They would have asked you, do you agree or not
PS: No, they have asked, I said that when the name comes before everybody and if a consensus is formed, then I have no issues.
PC: It means even you are a candidate, you gave approval to your name.
PS: In the six names that have been given, my name is also there.
PC: You have accepted Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalitha.
PC: Hence, you are in the race as your name is one among the six
PS: Yes, among six.
PC: Do you think, all political parties, like you went to meet Jayalalitha, then she would have said in front of you that why not you, did or did she not say it?
PS: Hmm, she said.
PC: Then you said, yes
PC: You said this
PC: When you had gone did Jayalalitha ask you or did you suggest your name
PS: No, no, no, she said
PS: Why are you not becoming (a candidate), you should be. If your name is there we have no objection
PC: Which means you gave six names, out of which your name was acceptable.
PC: But do you feel that you will be acceptable to the Congress
PS: No, that is not the case, we are trying, and the issue of adivasis, we are putting forth
PC: Whom all did you meet till now?
PS: Till now, I have met BJP-NDA’s Gadkari saab.
PC: You have met?
PS: Yes, and the leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, have met Sushma Swaraj. Met leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.
PC: And you all go as a team
PS: As a team, Mulayamsinghji,
PC: You also met him
PS: Yes, met Nitish Kumar, met Sharad Yadav, met Ram Vilas Paswan,
PC: You suggest all six names
PS: Yes, all six, all of them
PC: Did any others take your name
PS: Somebody took, somebody did not take. Because, like BJP leaders said that it is a very serious issue, and decision cannot be taken on an individual level. Hence when will have our national executive
PC: In Mumbai
PS: In Mumbai, the a discussion on the issue will be held. Only after that will we be able to tell what our position is.
PC: And Nitish, what did he tell you
PS: And Nitish said
PC: NDA meeting
PC: Not NDA, they will discuss in internal meeting.
PC: And you have not met Mamta till now
PS: Not till now.
PC: Have you sought time from Mamta
PS: I have sought time, from Mamta, from Mayawati, have met Sharad Pawar in the morning as part of a delegation and have sought time from Madam Sonia Gandhi.
PC: Sharad Pawar is leader of your party, what did he say, we will talk with the government as part of UPA.
PS: He said that we are in UPA ally, hence cannot take any decision alone. Secondly, we have only fifteen MPs, which is nothing. Hence, it is difficult for us to sponsor a candidate. Even then , what other political parties are thinking, we will discuss and find out.
PC: He did not stop you and said that you should not contest
PS: No, no, no, he did not stop me.
PC: Didn’t he say that Sangma saab, you are leader of my party and without asking you announced your name
PS: We did not go to anybody taking the party name. We went with tribal leaders, because in the delegation, even Maharashtra NCP president Mr. Pichad, even he was there.
PC: Orissa tribal your leader, NCP supported you
PS: NCP supported, like wise there was Arvind Netam from Congress, Kulaste saab from BJP,
PC: Was he accompanying you all
PS: He was accompanying us as part of delegation.
PC: Kulaste saab went with you
PS: There is no question of party here, till now
PC: But your became leader of tribal netas
PS: No, no that is not the case. It is a collective decision
PC: That means they have collectively decided that it will be good if there is agreement on your name
PS: No, regarding that we have called a meeting on 24th
PC: Of tribal leaders
PS: Of tribal leaders, on that they we will finalize. Till now we want to know what all political parties want, whom they want
PC: Till 24th you will meet everybody
PS: Before that we will meet others too.
PC: Didn’t you request for time from Sonia Gandhiji
PS: Have request, certainly.
PC: You didn’t get time till now
PS: Till now, have not got.
PC: You will meet her, after that Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, but you are only meeting political leaders now
PS: We have requested for time from Manmohan Singh, Pranab Mukherjee, because Pranab Mukherjee is Lok Sabha leader and Manmohan is Rajya Sabha leader and Madam Sonia Gandhi is UPA chairperson. Hence, we have requested for time from all three.
PC: That you must make some tribal leader
PS: That’s all
PC: But again and again the question arises, you are saying that the candidate should be a tribal, I want to ask you that you have been a good lok sabha speaker, people respect you a lot, don’t you think in this country caste, community, religion, adivasi, tomorrow harijan, day after woman, sometimes Muslim, sometimes Christian, is it not right for this country
PS: This is not right but this is what is going on. Please see, we thought it is not right, that why we had kept quiet. And we saw that by keeping quiet for 65 years, we got nothing. Hence, like other people are asking, asking for their rights, then we thought why should we keep quiet.
PC: You thought other caste, community are moving ahead
PS: They are moving ahead
PC: And political parties are standing in their support
PS: Certainly, certainly, certainly. In 1995,when I became cabinet minister, media asked me how are you feeling, I said I am feeling very good because, in Bharat, in our great country, I for the first time, adivasi, have become cabinet minister, that is why I am happy.
PC: For the first time adivasi had become
PS: Yes, yes,
PC: Kishore Chandra..
PS: He became recently. At that time, it was big news in the newspapers; I was in 15 Safdarjung, Vajpayjee came to my house, he asked him ‘Sangma saab, what you said, that first time an adivasi has became a cabinet minister, is it true’
PC: Even I didn’t know this
PS: Vajpayjee asked, ‘is it true?’ I said Vajpayjee, it is true.
PC: Now, there are two three, tribal ministers, cabinet ministers
PS: Now there are. Vajpayjee said how Bharat can do such a mistake. Hence, it is very important to put it in the mind. Till 1995, no adivasi became cabinet minister, many people did not know, till we have said it
PC: Hence you mean, the campaign that you ran that a tribal should became president, not because you want to become president, but because you want the tribals to get the rights that they have not got till now.
PS: Exactly, that is it, that is it.
PC: It is a fight for tribal rights
PS: It is a fight for tribal rights
PC: let it is from any community in the country.
PS: I said in the meeting, fight for your rights, if you don’t get it this time, don’t lose heart, next time one may get, after 10 years one may get, but one should claim it, till today we did not claim it.
PC: Hence the fight of Sangma is not for himself,
PS: No, not at all
PC: It is for tribal leaders
PC: For tribal community
PC: Initially it was said that caste, community basis of decision takes the nation backwards.
PS: That is there
PC: Good leaders like you, who have an image,
PS: What you are saying is true, I agree, even I don’t want, but the reality is that caste based, religion based has been going on and will go on in Bharat. What will one do, to stop it there is only one way, education, education, once the people of the country will be educated, or literate, then all this distinction, differences, votebank politics,
PC: You are saying education will remove this
PS: Only education can remove it, otherwise no. But as of today, they way we are going, the caste based politics is going on. Please see, we tribals don’t believe in caste, we believe in equality, it is not in our blood, this difference, upper caste, lower caste, middle caste, this is not in our blood, but we have become a part of this network.
PC: Don’t you think that Sangma saab, that Sangma has been projected not on merit because he was good speaker, he has been a good leader, but because he is a tribal. You are tribal, hence you want to became President, Purno Sangma does not have any other qualification,
PS: Our message is this, being tribal should not be a disqualification. A tribal has everything, knowledge, education, his record is fine, he is an administrator, on merit, but, but because he is a tribal he is not getting, this should not happen,
PC: Happening in the country?
PS: This is happening in the country,
PC: You are saying Purno Sangma reached this position
PS: It is not a question of Purno Sangma,
PC: I am taking name because it is in focus, Purno Sangma today could have been Prime Minister, Finance Minister, because no tribal became finance minister, home minister, external affairs minister,
PS: Did not became
PC: He did not become, because he is a tribal
PC: Even if he would have been qualified, he would have not been made
PS: Even then he would have not been made, so being tribal should not be disqualification, which is happening now.
PC: It is a complex. Many times it seems that Purno Sangma, after reaching this age, what is your age
PS: 65 years
PC: Only 65, you are younger to me, am a year elder to you.
PS: I was born fifteen days after independence.
PC: Now you feel after independence became president
PS: Did not became
PC: Many born before independence became
PC: only they became president, Prime Minister
PS: Even Prime Minister, people born after independence, nobody became
PC: Even Rajiv Gandhi was born before independence.
PS: Before independence
PC: Neither became Prime Minister nor President
PC: Which means now the number of people who were born after independence will come.
PS: Should come
PC: Tell me one thing, many times it seems that he Purno Sangma family, many times is over ambitious politically, like your son is leader of opposition and finance minister, the daughter is a minister at centre, then why should not Sangma saab become President. Many times a person becomes politically ambitious
PS: That is not the case, that is not the case, please see, I was a school dropout, I stopped going to school after the death of my father, Christian missionaries picked up and educated us, and after that I became MP and have been an MP for 30 years and been in Delhi. Because of this, our two girls and boys, studied St. Columbus, Jesus and Mary Convent, America and England. Because of whom this happened, because of every vote of my constituency, you see, my children owe a debt to ever vote their father has got.
PC: They sent you to parliament, then you could have resources
PS: Otherwise they would have been labourers. That is why I said when your are educated, have got education in London, America, now you have to pay back.
PC: Many times it is like making you President, because there is an old statement, that you made against Soniaji, that foreigner should not become Prime Minister of this country
PS: That is very old
PC: very old, now you are not on that line anymore
PS: Not on that line anymore, forgot
PC: That has become history
PS: That was history that is over. You would have known that I went to meet her, I have apologised too and they had come to my sons wedding reception.
PC: Do you feel that when somebody like you becomes President
PS: No, no
PC: I am telling you that if you became President, like as a speaker you were independent, like you have run speakership, will you run the president’s office in the same way. That is why it seems you will not get support of Congress party,
PS: Please see, i, Loksabha, according to the rules, exactly according to the constitution, not outside the law, as laid down in law and constitution, that is what I followed. Let anybody become the President tomorrow, work should be exactly according to the Constitution, according to law
PC: President has lots of power according to the constitution, who has to be made Prime Minister, if it is there in a coalition, then the President uses his power
PS: Please see, in the constitution, there are two things,
PC: If there is clear majority then there is no option for the Presidnet
PS: See, what is there in the constitution, the letter of the constitution, the spirit of the constitution, you read the letter of the constitution, the President shall appoint the Prime Minister and other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister, which means president can appoint anybody as Prime Minister.
PC: Correct, first step he can take, who enjoys the majority of the house
PS: This is according to the letter of the constitution, but the spirit is not the same, the spirit says one who has the majority of the house, this will have to be considered by anyone who becomes President.
PC: Every ruling party wants to President who is rubber stamp.
PS: That is not the case
PC: That is the image, like somebody signed emergency from the bathroom, somebody signed some other bills. Hence, if Purno Sangma becomes with everybody’s agreement, will you also be a rubber stamp.
PS: Constitution of India stamp
PC: Purno Sangma, please tell the sentence, will be a stamp of the constitution of India
PS: Certainly, will do according to what is laid down in the constitution.
PC: Will follow both the letter and spirit of the constitution
PC: But do you think that you will get support from the Congress
PS: Now to form a consensus, the demand that we have, that is going on now. Who will be the candidate, how many votes will he get,
PC: If there is a consensus among all non congress parties, left, BJP, BSP, Samajwadi Party, if Purno Sangma becomes consensus candidate of all, then you will not move from the seat.
PS: Let’s see what happens, now many days are left, have to be given till July end. Now we are in May, the whole month of June is pending, then what will be the political situation, political trend, what political development,
PC: Will you still be a candidate, if you are not a consensus candidate
PS: No, no, will decide in the next 15 days. Will sit again after 15 days and discuss with you.
PC: Now you have not decided
PS: Now not decided, now testing is going on, we are testing the grounds.
PC: If you do not get support you will withdraw
PS: If there is no support then why will I
PC: But till now you have a desire, if political parties support you, then you will surely think
PS: Parties, to support adivasi candidate, not Purno Sangma, adivasi candidate
PC: Purno Sangma’s name came, you yourself accepted.
PS: Both parties gave endorsement
PC: But you accepted, then they announced. You said that they said to you, you said you will consider
PS: It will be a collective decision, we have a meeting on 26th, in which a final decision will be taken.
PC: Which means at the moment you have not moved away from the field, you are in the field as yet
PS: Am in the field
PC: Thank you very much for coming to our studio.
PS: Thank you, Prabhuji !