Youngest minister raring to work for northeastMay 27th, 2009 - 7:49 pm ICT by IANS
By Azera Rahman
New Delhi, May 27 (IANS) She is young, confident and raring to “bridge the gap” between her home region, the northeast, and the rest of the country. Agatha Sangma, the youngest minister of the Manmohan Singh government, may not be “choosy” about her portfolio, but is sure geared up to work for grassroot development.
Looking confident as she handled scores of media queries in near-impeccable Hindi right after the news broke, 27-year-old Sangma said that in all probability she will get the rural development ministry.
“I am privileged and since this is my first opportunity, I will not be choosy. Whatever position I am given, I will be happy,” the first time minister, who hails from Meghalaya and is the daughter of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A.Sangma, told IANS.
“Like last time, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders Parful Patel got the civil aviation ministry and Sharad Pawar got the agriculture portfolio. Therefore if the status quo is maintained then I may get the rural development ministry which was given to Suryakanta Patil,” she said.
Obviously thrilled at being recommended for the council of ministers, Sangma said that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called her Wednesday afternoon at her 34, Aurangzeb Road residence, giving her the news.
“He (Manmohan Singh) called me in the afternoon and told me to come for the swearing-in ceremony. That is when the news was confirmed,” Sangma, dressed in a navy blue wrap around skirt and a light blue checked shirt, said.
A lawyer by profession, Sangma took her LL.B degree from Pune University and then joined the bar in Delhi High Court. She did her masters from Nottingham University in the UK on environmental management.
Her plunge into politics came after her brothers, Conrad Sangma and James Sangma. She entered active politics with the NCP nominating her as the party candidate for the May 22 by-election last year to Tura Lok Sabha seat in Garo hills in Meghalaya.
All geared up to work for the development of the northeast now, Sangma said: “The main problem when it comes to development there is that the northeast is considered seperate from the rest of the country because it is culturally very different”.
“We are economically and culturally segregated. Now I have a big responsibility - to integrate the northeast with the rest of the country. Economic empowerment of the women and giving employment to the youth without losing our cultural heritage will be my priority,” Sangma said.
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