Thursday, December 03, 2009

LENDUP DORJEE KHANGSARPA : The First Chief Minister of Sikkim (1975-1979)

Popularly known as L. D. Kazi, became the first Chief Minister of Sikkim in 1975 thus ending over three century old monarchy system. He became the 1st Chief Minister of Sikkim on 14 MAY, 1975 - 17 AUGUST, 1979.

He was born in 1904 in Pakyong, East District. A fonuder President of Sikkim Praja Mandal, established in 1946. Later he became the President of Sikkim State Congress and held the post till 1958. In 4th general election held in 1970, Kazi was appointed an Executive Councilor and was assigned the portfolio of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry and Transport Authority. Under his presidency in 1973, the united party secured 31 out of 32 seats of State Assembly and became the first Chief Minister of Sikkim in 1974.

He was married to Elisa-Maria Standford in 1968, daughter of a Belgian father and German mother who left her Scottish husband in Burma and married LD Kaji in Delhi in 1957.

During the Kazi's regime, people of Sikkim had seen both negative and positive aspects. He was even called a traitor. Under his leadership, the tiny Himalayan kingdom Sikkim lost its identity. Bhutia-Lepcha seats on cabinet reduced to 12, which was 15 earlier. Central Service Cadre such as Indian Administrative Services (IAS), Indian Forest Services (IFS), Indian Police Services (IPS) etc. were introduced in Sikkim, which as violated the Establishment Rule 4(4) of 1974. The Administrative power of Sikkim was handed over the (IAS/IFS/IPS) forever. Sikkim integrated into Indian Union without any constitutional protection of its limited area and the people. But if we look at the positive side, people of Sikkim acquired the Democratic rights, Sikkim was specially categorized in Indian union. The Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali languages have been recognized as the official languages of Sikkim in 1977. 

During the Kazi Government, the Anti-Corruption branch was set up in Gangtok and the Frontier Railway Passenger Out Agency was also opened at the Sikkim Nationalised Transport Office here in Gangtok on September 1, 1975. Chief Minister Kazi Lhendup Dorjee also laid the foundation stone of the Temi Tea Factory in South Sikkim on December 21, 1975 and the Governor. During the same year, the Gangtok Water Treatment Plant at Selep was also opened.

The Gangtok-Chungthang Bus Service, Divisional Telegraph Office at Gangtok, Industrial Training Institute at Rangpo, Tashiling Secretariat and Kendriya Vidyalaya at Deorali were all inaugurated during the tenure of Kazi Sahib. The bridge at Sirwani near Singtam in EastSikkim, named after LD Kazi was also inaugurated during this time. The Kazi government played host to a number of VVIPs visiting Sikkim. The most prominent among them was the visit of the Mother Teresa, on February 17, 1976. The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi also paid a visit toSikkim on November 11, 1975.

Kazi Lhendup Dorjee died of a heart attack on July 30, 2007 at his home in Kalimpong. Dorjee was 103 years old at the time of his death. Though he died of a heart attack, Dorjee had been suffering from liver problems for several years. Dorjee's funeral took place at the Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim on August 3, 2007. The government had announced August 3 as State holiday as a mark of respect to late LD Kazi on his funeral day. 

In respect to the leader, state level award had also been set in his name, the award is called 'LD KAZI AWARD FOR THE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT'. Apart from citation ,Award carries a cash component of Rs.1 lakh.

source: added information from and Sikkimtimes