Assembly recalls late Clifford’s efforts for separate Garo state

SHILLONG: The State Legislative Assembly on Monday paid eloquent tributes to late Minister and Chokpot legislator Clifford Marak, who passed away on Feb 28, for over two hours, a record of sorts.
While taking part in the customary Obituary Reference, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma termed the late legislator as a ‘dynamic political leader’.
Sangma also recalled his association with the veteran leader from Garo Hills stating that the late legislator had helped him in many ways during his student days.
“The demise of the former Chokpot legislator is a great loss to the State since he had made enormous contributions for the overall development of the State. His demise is a loss not only for the people of Garo Hills but the State as a whole,” Sangma said.
The Chief Minister recalled that the late legislator was blunt and candid in raising issues.
“Every member of this august House would agree that we have lost a very effective legislator. It will take a long time to fill up this vacuum,” Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also recalled that late Marak had been instrumental in raising the issue of a separate Garo land and had been very consistent in the Garo land movement. He had even formed his own party (Garo National Council) to carry forward his movement.
Opposition leader Donkupar Roy (UDP) termed the late Chokpot legislator as a Rule Book master.
“Every one of us would see the book whenever we wanted to cite any rule of conduct and procedure of business of the House. But he (Marak) could refer to any rule without having to look at the book. This was a unique quality he had,” Roy said.
Roy also recalled that the Chokpot legislator wanted him to support the movement for a separate Garo land.
The Opposition leader said that he (Marak) would always say that the people of both Garo Hills and Khasi-Jaintia Hills would be benefitted with the separation since they will have smaller states.
“But he could not accomplish his dreams,” he said.
While stating that he had made useful contributions both as legislator and as minister, Roy said that he had lost a great friend.
Former Chief Minister DD Lapang also shared his personal bonding with the late legislator.
“I have special memories of late Marak since he was a man who always kept his words whenever I sought his help when was a minister under BB Lyngdoh,” Lapang said.
Former Chief Minister Saleng C Marak termed Marak as dynamic leader who was active in the Assembly and took part in the proceeding of the House.
“We will definitely miss him. The vacuum left by him is difficult to fill,” he said.
UDP legislator Paul Lyngdoh also recalled the contribution made by the late legislator.
Others who cherished their association with him included Ampareen Lyngdoh,
Martin Danggo, AL Hek and Pynshngain N Syiem (all Congress), John Leslee Sangma (Independent), Metbah Lyngdoh (UDP), and Nihim D Shira (NPP).
HSPDP members Ardent M. Basaiawmoit and K.P. Pangniang, James Sangma (NPP) and Jemino Mawthoh (UDP) also fondly recalled the zeal shown by the GNC leader for the formation of a separate state for Garos.
Speaker A.T. Mondal recalled that in 1988 he and late Clifford were inducted in the ministry under then Chief Minister B.B. Lyngdoh.
Terming Clifford as an amiable person, the Speaker said, “I never saw him getting irritated. The only time I saw his annoyance was when the members did not attend the meeting of several assembly committees.”
The Speaker said that the demand of the late legislator for Garo land was not political in nature as his intention was to bring the administration closer to every individual.
Mondal also said that in the last session, the Chokpot legislator had suggested the new idea of roster system for bureaucracy to enable everyone and every community to get equal opportunity.
Citing other qualities of late Clifford, the Speaker said, “He knew all the rules in the Assembly and was a great follower.”
The members of the House also paid tributes to 11 political leaders including former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jarbom Gamlin and former CPI (M) leader Anil Sarkar.
Members of the House conveyed their condolences to the bereaved families. A two-minute silence was also observed as a mark of respect for the departed souls.

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