The first day of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly’s Budget Session took off on a sombre note following the death of Congress MLA Azad Zaman on March 4, 2021. Only a month ago, another Congress MLA, David Nongrum had also passed away.
Remembering both leaders, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma in his obituary speech recalled how most House members couldn’t digest the news of their demise.
“David was liked by everyone. I have fond memories of him. I always remembered him to be a jolly person. It was a great shock to me and a great loss for his constituency, his family, and for this August House,” said Sangma.
He added that even as they were recovering from David’s loss, Azad Zaman passed away.
“He was a humble person and never had that air that he held such a rank. Every time we met, he was always courteous. We were shocked and saddened by his demise,” said Sangma.
The chief minister also remembered former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Gogoi was a father figure for most of them, Sangma added, and it was a huge loss for the Northeast region.
Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma said that losing David was like losing a son and a brother.
“We have lost too many leaders who had long innings in political life. When we heard the news of the sudden demise of David, we were heartbroken. Even now, it is hard to accept the fact. I knew him even before he joined as a member of this August House,” said Dr Mukul.
Dr Mukul recalled Late Dr Azad as a promising leader from a non-tribal community. “Late Dr Azad made time for the downtrodden. He chose Rajabala, which is a difficult constituency. We witnessed a polarised electorate, a constituency divided not only on political lines but community lines,” said Dr Mukul.
He added, “I could see him trying to change the whole scenario to create a sense of unity. He would reassure me that he was trying to bridge the gap between the communities.”
Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh remembered Late David Nongrum as a representative who left behind a brief but commendable legacy.