EK Mawlong passes away

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Shilong
  • Published 18.10.08
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Shillong, Oct. 18: Former Meghalaya chief minister and sitting UDP legislator E.K. Mawlong died this morning at Shillong Civil Hospital. He was 62 and is survived by four sons and two daughters.

The Meghalaya government has decided to accord him a state funeral and also announced a daylong state mourning on Monday, when he will be laid to rest at the Mawprem Catholic cemetery. The Tricolour will fly at half-mast in all government establishments that day.

Mawlong was not keeping well ever since he won the Assembly elections in February on a UDP ticket from Umroi constituency in Ri Bhoi district, defeating Congress candidate Stanlywiss Rymbai.

Chief minister Donkupar Roy was among the first to condole Mawlong’s death. In a message to the family, he described Mawlong as “a man of integrity and a great political leader”.

Echoing Roy, the leader of the Opposition, D.D. Lapang said the state had lost another “noble son of the soil”. Mawlong started his career as a schoolteacher in 1968 and taught till June 1971. He later worked in the Accountant General’s office.

As chief minister, Mawlong could complete only a short tenure in office — from March 2000 to December 2001 — as he was ousted by the Opposition following a scandal over the construction of Meghalaya House in Calcutta.

As the Speaker of the Assembly from 1983 till 1988 and again from 1998 to 2000, Mawlong was known for strictly maintaining the dignity and decorum of the House.

In 1972, he was elected to the Khasi Hills District Council as an Independent. Three years later, Mawlong joined the Congress and became president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress and also served as an Indian Youth Congress member .

Before Mawlong joined the UDP, he strengthened the Hill State Peoples’ Democratic Party (HSPDP) as its president.

He was elected president of the UDP in 1997 and continued as its head till 2001.

Prior to his death, Mawlong served as the chairman of the State Development Reforms Commission with the status of the chief minister.

Mawlong first contested and won the Assembly election from Umroi constituency in 1978 as an Independent. From 1983 to 1993, he was re-elected from Umroi on an HSPDP ticket and maintained his successful run in 1998 when he contested on an UDP ticket.

Mawlong served as a cabinet minister from 1990 to 1991 in the B.B. Lyngdoh ministry.

In 2003, he lost the elections mainly due to the campaign against him on the controversial Meghalaya House deal by Stanlywiss Rymbai.

In January this year, the Shillong bench of Gauhati High court asked the state government not to pursue the pending CBI case on the Meghalaya House deal, which had led to the UDP leader’s losing his chief minister’s chair in 2001.