SHILLONG: The journey of the National People’s Party (NPP) to its present status of being accorded a national party status started in 1989 in Manipur. The founder of the party — Late L Ibomcha of Manipur — had envisaged the party only for Manipur. But it was due to the big dreams of another political stalwart — Late Purno Agitok Sangma who had taken over the party in 2012 — that the party grew from a regional party to a national party in only seven years. But the party did not have any MLAs for 18 years.
After Late Sangma left the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 2012, he revived the NPP but the revival of the then Manipur-based party started in 2007, when three MLAs were elected to the Assembly.
On Saturday, one of the first MLAs of the NPP, Thangminlian Kipgen who attended the North East Coordination Committee meeting of the party in Shillong shared the history of this journey of the party.
Kipgen had known the Late Sangma since the latter was a Union Minister. His elder brother was an officer in the Commerce Ministry when Late Sangma had managed it.
Kipgen who was a four-time legislator, was first elected to the Manipur Assembly in 1995 but it was only in 2007 that he won on an NPP ticket from the Kangpokpi Assembly constituency along with two others — V Hangkhanlian who was the then president of the party and T Hangkhanpao.
“In the 2012 Assembly elections, the Kuki underground outfits did not allow me to contest the polls,” Kipgen said. When he decided to quit politics sometime in 2015, Late Purno asked him to take over as the chief of the party’s State unit in Manipur.
“I thought of leaving politics but since our great leader PA Sangma requested me to take over the Manipur unit I again revived the party where it was first founded,” Kipgen said.
On being accorded the National Party status, he said that in the beginning he never thought the party would reach such a level. ”It was only a State-level party. When PA Sangma took over the party it was expanded up to Rajasthan,” he added.
Kipgen further pointed out that with the NPP — a party from the Northeast being accorded a national party status— the people of the region now has a face in Delhi.
“This is the vision of our great leader and the hard labour of our national president Conrad Sangma,” he said.
Kipgen also said that the NPP has high hopes from the leadership of Conrad and said that the party will progress under him.
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