Meghalaya Assembly speaker and United Democratic Party (UDP) leader, late Dr Donkupar Roy Dkhar, was laid to rest at Shella with full state honours on Wednesday.
Thousands of mourners braved the rain while paying their last respect to the veteran leader during the state funeral held at Saitsohpen ground, Sohra.
A 21-gun salute was accorded to the late leader at the state funeral after which the body was taken from Sohra at around 3.20 pm to Jatap, Shella.
He was laid rest there at around 6 pm.
Family members of the late leader, chief minister Conrad K. Sangma, his cabinet colleagues, leader of Opposition Mukul Sangma, deputy speaker Timothy D. Shira, MLAs, members of district councils, civil and police officials and thousands of people attended the state funeral.
Shella is about 86 km from Shillong.
The chief minister, his cabinet colleagues and MLAs accompanied the body from Sohra to Shella for the burial.
Donkupar, the president of the UDP from 2003 till his he breathed his last on July 28, had represented Shella Assembly constituency since 1988 for the seventh consecutive terms without tasting defeat.
The chief minister was emotional and cried while delivering his speech when he termed the late UDP leader a ‘father figure’ to him and the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.
“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,” Conrad said while shedding tears.
Conrad Sangma said that as speaker, Dr Donkupar Roy had run the State Assembly in the best possible manner and ensured balance in the House by giving chance to both the Opposition and government.
Sharing the experiences when Dr Donkupar Roy was the chief minister in 2008 and when he (Conrad) was the finance minister that time, the chief minister said that the late speaker had been telling everybody in the government to have a clear objective and know what one wanted to do.
Stating that Dr Donkupar Roy was the trusted leader, Conrad Sangma said, “He told me that if we don’t have trust, we are not fit to be leaders.”
“The biggest thing among us now is to celebrate his life, his vision, ideology, and principles,” Conrad Sangma said.
Leader of Opposition, Dr Mukul Sangma recalled his long associations with Dr Donkupar Roy since 1993 and fixed solutions to various issues concerning the state with UDP leader during the Congress-led government.
“We took a number of decisions and initiatives when we were together in the government and he ensured consensus decision for the larger good of the state,” Dr Mukul Sangma recalled.
Dr Sangma stated among many qualities that he possessed, Dr Donkupar Roy was the leader who did not want vindictive politics and remained firm when he had committed.
Talking about the firm stand that UDP leader had maintained, Dr Sangma informed that after the Assembly elections in 2018, Dr Donkupar Roy did not agree to work together because he had committed to work with other partners.
“In 2018, we discussed about instability in the state and told him to join our party (Congress). But Dr Donkupar told me that it was more difficult to join your party than running the government. This was because he was a person with firm commitment,” Dr Sangma said.
Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) leader Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar urged upon the present leaders of the regional parties to complete the incomplete job that Dr Donkupar had initiated for the unification of all regional parties.
Dr Donkupar Roy’s eldest son Balajied Kupar Synrem also spoke about the life and political journey of his father as an MLA of Shella constituency since 1988 and thanked the people of Shella constituency for their love and support.