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Man who ushered in democracy in Sikkim


GANGTOK: Kazi Lhendup Dorji Khangsarpa, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim, who died on Monday, played a key role in the State’s merger with the Indian Union. He ushered in a democratic movement there when it was still ruled by a monarch.

He was honoured by the Centre with the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award, for his outstanding political career.

Various roles

In 1945, Dorji started the Sikkim Praja Mandal and was elected its first president. In 1953, he became president of the Sikkim State Congress and held that post till 1958. Dorji then decided to form another party — the Sikkim National Congress — in 1962. This outfit gave a new direction to political life in the State. Dorji’s idea was to form a non-communal party which could give the people peace, prosperity and progress.

Fighting on this platform, his party secured eight seats out of 18 in the third general elections.

Dorji formed the opposition in the Sikkim Council and tried to bring about communal harmony. In the fourth general elections held in 1970, he was appointed an executive councillor and allotted the portfolio of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Transport Authority. He was, however, relieved of his executive councillorship in 1972. Dorji was born in Pakyong, East Sikkim, in the noble Khangsarpa family in 1904. — PTI

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