Thousands bid farewell to Meghalaya’s longest serving legislator

Shillong, Sep 29 (IANS) A sea of humanity gathered at Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district on Tuesday to bid adieu to veteran political leader and the state’s longest-serving legislator Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, who had a distinguished public career for nearly six decades.

Lyngdoh, the founder of Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) spearheading the political movement for the creation of a Khasi-Jaintia state, and a movement against mining of uranium in Meghalaya, died on September 26 at the super-specialty North East Indira Gandhi Regional of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) hospital here due of septicaemia and multi-organ failure.

He was laid to rest with full state honours and 21 gun salute at his native village Mawkyllei village in West Khasi hills district, about 72 km from Shillong.

Wrapped in the tricolour, Lyngdoh’s body was kept in the open ground near Mawkyllei Presbyterian Church for the public and political leaders to pay homage.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and his cabinet colleagues, Assembly Speaker Abu Taher Mondal, Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy, religious heads, family members, friends and representatives of Lyngdoh’s Nongstoi assembly constituency, stood in silence as speakers paid glowing tributes on the late leader.

Showering praise on Lyngdoh’s impeccable integrity, Sangma said: “His impeccable integrity in public life, the most important quality of a man who spent his entire life in serving the people, is something for us to emulate.”

Roy recalled Lyngdoh’s contribution to the creation of a full-fledged state of Meghalaya, besides his stain-free public life.

“I don’t know if we could have ever got our own state (creation of Meghalaya) if not for this departed leader,” he said. Meghalaya was created as a separate state from Assam on January 21, 1972.

Paying his glowing tribute to his party leader, Hill State People’s Democratic Party legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said that the state has lost a towering leader and promised to pursue the unfinished tasks.

Lyngdoh first won an assembly election in 1962 in the composite Assam assembly. He founded the HSPDP in 1965 with the lion as its symbol.

Lyngdoh, who was elected from Shillong parliamentary constituency in 1977, scripted history when he was elected as a legislator from two Assembly constituencies – Nongstoin and Pariong in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district – in 1988.

He had served as a cabinet minister in the early and late 1990s and was deputy chief minister in a short-lived Meghalaya Progressive Alliance coalition government in 2008-09.

Besides having served in the assembly and in parliament, Lyngdoh had also served in the autonomous district council at different periods beginning from 1958. He was also the chief executive member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council from 1984-89.

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