New Delhi, June 30 (Agency)
For the third time in 10 days, Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma skipped an event Saturday, apparently to avoid media scrutiny on her father, P.A. Sangma, contesting the presidential election as a candidate of the BJP and some other opposition parties.
Agatha Sangma was to inaugurate a conference, "Seeking our collective peace; The Northeast India Diaspora looks into solutions for peace and development in the region" Saturday morning but dropped out at the last minute.
"She had confirmed and reconfirmed her attendance. Then she told me she couldn't come because of a religious ceremony in Tura (in Arunachal Pradesh). I told her she should issue a statement. She has done so, so I won't circulate that here," Binalakshmi Nepram, founder of the Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network, one of the organisers of the conference, told IANS.
On Thursday, Agatha Sangma was missing from the large retinue that accompanied the senior Sangma to Parliament House to file his papers for the July 19 presidential elections.
A week before that, she had skipped a meeting of her Nationalist Congress Party which was to take a view on Sangma's candidature. P.A. Sangma had spared the NCP the blushes by resigning from the party soon after the BJP and other opposition parties like the AIADMK and the Biju Janata Dal.
Questions have, however, been raised on Agatha Sangma's continuance in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government. One view is that given the current political churn, the ruling Congress, for the moment, would not like to alienate the northeast by asking her to quit.
The elder Sangma has said his daughter was "mature enough" to decide about her political future on her own.