Leh || Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, Sonam Dawa Lonpo, passed away due to a cardiac arrest at his residence in Leh late Monday evening.
The sudden death of the CEC has created political uncertainty in the district as the executive body of the council was dissolved and it would now be re-constituted within a month. The LAHDC governs the district politically and the CEC holds the rank of a Cabinet minister.
The 69-year-old Lonpo, who was BJP district president of Leh and councillor from the Thiksay constituency, was elected as the CEC on November 3, 2015, after the BJP wrested control over the powerful LAHDC for the first time by winning 18 of the 26 constituencies.
Lonpo was a medical practitioner by profession and he is survived by his wife, daughter and son-in-law. His funeral will be held on February 6.
According to reports, Lonpo was found dead on his bed on Monday evening. The CEC reportedly failed to respond to his wife’s call, who later asked a neighbour to visit the house and enquire about Lonpo’s health. The neighbour, who used to serve food to the CEC during his wife’s absence, found him dead on the bed. “As per the LAHDC Act, the executive body, comprising executive councillors, has been dissolved and a fresh body will have to be re-constituted within a month. All councillors will be taken into confidence before electing the new CEC. Nobody will be imposed on them. The Deputy Commissioner, who is the Chief Executive Officer, will look after the affairs of the Council till the election of the new CEC,” Chering Dorjay, Minister for Ladakh Affairs,
The state government, as a mark of respect to Lonpo, has declared state mourning for three days (January 30 to February 1). The government has also announced a state holiday on January 31.
The legislators in both the Houses paid tributes to the departed soul and observed silence as a mark of respect. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also expressed sorrow over Lonpo’s demise.
In her message, she recalled his contribution in development of the Ladakh region. The BJP, led by its state president Sat Pal Sharma, along with other senior leaders, also paid tributes to Lonpo. Meanwhile, Leh observed a complete shutdown as a mark of respect and to mourn the death of the CEC. The bandh was called by the Ladakh Buddhist Association with the support of merchants and all other trade associations