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SHILLONG, December 15, 2071: The last session of the present Meghalaya Assembly was adjourned sine die on Thursday after members from both sides of the 60-member house exchanged parting shots ahead of the upcoming assembly elections scheduled in February.

The members also accorded warm wishes to three senior Congress legislators – Donwa Dethwelson Lapang, Deputy Chief Minister Roytre Christopher Laloo, and Roshan Warjri – who have decided not to seek re-election in 2018. Before finally adjourning the present House, Speaker Abu Taher Mondal said: “I tried to be neutral even though it is difficult to judge one’s own performance.”

Mondal, the first non-tribal legislator to be the Speaker, admitted that the three resolutions moved by the opposition parties against the government and him had tested his neutrality.

“I tried to be neutral as much as possible. But the Opposition has raised questions that the Speaker does not give sufficient time to its members. The ruling side, on the other hand, has been alleging that I have been giving too much indulgence to the Opposition,” he said

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, who has created a record of being the longest-serving Chief Minister in the State, said: “I have been enriched by the deliberations in this House, and I have a sense of satisfaction and pride as we have been able to maintain the highest decorum.”

He lauded Mondal’s performance as a presiding officer. Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy, of the United Democratic Party, described the present House as “very rare term” since three senior members have declared their retirement.

“I thought that politicians never retire. We will be missing them. We do not know how many will return but can we continue our friendship,” he said.

Lapang, who has represented Nongpoh constituency since 1972 – barring 1993-1998 – said: “We have to come to the end of the journey. But the tenure of politicians is not confined within the four walls of this Assembly. We will involve ourselves outside.”

Laloo said: “I chose not to contest, and I am glad I could call it a day. I will witness the next House from the visitors’ gallery.”

Opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said: “We have tried to make this House vibrant. We hope to get a better government and a better opposition.”

Source: Agencies

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