Shillong, July 31: The body of Meghalaya Assembly Speaker, late Dr Donkupar Roy Dkhar was laid to rest at his native Shella village on Wednesday evening after thousands of mourners paid their last tributes amid inclement weather at the state funeral at Sohra.
A 21-gun salute was accorded to the United Democratic Party (UDP) leader at the state funeral. The body was taken from Sohra at around 3.20 pm to Jatap, Shella and he was laid rest there at around 6 pm.
Thousands bid adieu to the veteran leader and expressed their grief over the demined of the Shella MLA along with the family members.
Chief minister Conrad K. Sangma, minister, leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma, deputy speaker Timothy D. Shira, MLAs, members of district councils, government officials and thousands of people attended the state funeral.
Dr Donkupar, who took over as president of the UDP from 2003 till the day he passed way, had represented Shella Assembly constituency for the seventh consecutive terms without tasting defeat since 1988. He passed away at Medanta Hospital, New Delhi on July 28. He was 64.
The chief minister shed tears as he spoke at the state funeral and termed the veteran UDP leader a ‘father figure’ to him and his colleagues.
“He was a father figure to me and to each one of us. In March 2016, I have lost my father (Purno Agitok Sangma), and today, I feel that I have lost my father again,” the chief minister said.
According to Conrad, Dr Donkupar as Speaker of the State Assembly, he had run the House in the best possible manner and ensured balance by giving chance to both the Opposition and government.
The Chief Minister also shared his experiences with Dr Donkupar when he was the chief minister from 2008 to 2009.
“I was the finance minister that time, and I have learnt many things from him,” Conrad said.
He said that Dr Donkupar was also clear in his mind, and used to stress that “we should have a clear objective and know what we wanted to do.”
Describing Dr Donkupar a trusted leader and man of his words, Conrad said, “Dr Donkupar use to tell me that if we don’t have trust, we are not fit to be a leader.”
The chief minister said that in the demise of Dr Donkupar the state has lost a great leader, adding that, “The biggest thing now is to celebrate his life, his vision, ideology, and principles.”
Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma recalled his associations with Dr Donkupar since 1993, and informed that he had been able to find many solutions with the UDP leader during the Congress-led government.
“We took a number of decisions and initiatives when we were together in the government,” Dr Mukul said while informing that Dr Donkupar would ensure consensus decision for the larger good of the state.
Among many qualities that he possessed, the Leader of Opposition said that Dr Donkupar was a leader who did not want vindictive politics.
“In 2018 prior to the Assembly elections when I met him, we discussed about instability in the state and requested him to join our party (Congress). But Dr Donkupar told me that it was more difficult to manage your party than running the government,” Dr Mukul said while appreciating the late leader for his firm commitment.
Dr Mukul informed that after the Assembly elections in 2018, Dr Donkupar did not also agree to work together because he had committed to work with other partners.
Dr Donkupar’s eldest son, Balajied Kupar Synrem also spoke about the life and political journey of his father as the MLA of Shella constituency since 1988, and thanked the people of Shella for the love and support that they extended to his father in the 31 years of his political innings.
Hill State People’s Democratic Party leader, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar reminded that Dr Donkupar had laid the foundation for the unification of regional parties in the state.
“Now it is the responsibility of the present leaders to complete this incomplete job that Dr Donkupar had initiated,” Tongkhar said.