Former Meghalaya CM dies at 62

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Shillong, Oct 18 (UNI) Former Meghalaya Chief Minister Evansius Kek Mawlong passed away at the Shillong Civil Hospital in the early hours today.

He was 62.

Mawlong, also the sitting United Democratic Party (UDP) MLA, had been ailing for sometime and underwent treatment at the Shillong Civil Hospital.

He is survived by his wife, four sons and two daughters.

Chief Minister Donkupar Roy was among the first to condole the political stalwart's demise. In a message to the family, he described Mawlong as ''a man of integrity and a great political leader''.

Echoing the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition DD Lapang said the state had lost another ''noble son of the soil''.

Mawlong, the teacher-turned-politician, joined active politics in the early 70's. He was elected an Independent member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council before he joined the Indian National Congress in 1972 and subsequently became the president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress.

His maiden entry to the State Assembly was in 1978, when he was elected as an independent candidate from Umroi constituency.

Later, he left the Congress and joined the Hills State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), on whose ticket he won the Assembly election in 1983 and 1993.

Late Mawlong was elected as the speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly from 1983 to 1988 and was later inducted as a minister in the BB Lyngdoh ministry in 1989.

In 1998, he successfully contested the Assembly elections after he left the HSPDP and joined the unified regional party United Democratic Party.

He became the Chief Minister on March 8, 2000, but had to step down just after over a year in March 8 2001, following the Kolkata Meghalaya House deal scam.

However, the Gauhati High Court later cleared his name from the scandal.

Subsequently, in the 2003 legislative elections, Mawlong lost his seat.

He wrested back the seat despite his illness in 2008.

The Former Meghalaya CMs reputation also lay in his being one of the best speakers in the State Assembly.

Meanwhile, the state has announced a state funeral in honour of the former Chief Minister.

He would be laid to rest at the Catholic cemetery at Mawprem.

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