PM, Sonia, PC pay last respects to Khandu

Khandu`s last rites will be performed in his native village as per Monpa Buddhist traditions.

Updated: May 06, 2011, 13:47 PM IST

Itanagar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday pledged his government`s full support in completing the "unfinished task and dream of all round development" of Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu, who was killed in a helicopter crash.

"Dorjee Khandu was a visionary and his untimely death is not just a loss for Arunachal Pradesh, but the nation as a whole and we, together with the support of the people here, are committed to realising the dream and the unfinished task of all round development undertaken by him," the Prime Minister told journalists after paying homage to the late chief minister here.

Manmohan Singh, accompanied by Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, arrived in Itanagar and spent about 15 minutes with Khandu`s family members in private. The three placed wreaths on Khandu`s coffin.

The body of Khandu, 56, was flown to his home district of Tawang for his last rites to be performed May 11 according to Buddhist rituals.

"On the advice of the Buddhist lamas, the family would be performing his funeral rites with the burial taking place May 11 in Tawang," Arunachal Pradesh MP Takam Sanjay told reporters.

Khandu and four others, two pilots, a personal security officer, and the sister of the Tawang MLA, were killed in the crash Saturday. The bodies were retrieved from the crash site at Lobotang near the 13,700 feet Sela Pass in Tawang district Thursday after six days of intense search operation.

Senior Congress party leader Jarbom Gamlin was sworn-in as the new chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh late Thursday by Governor Gen (Retd) J.J. Singh at a hurriedly convened sombre oath taking ceremony at the Raj Bhavan here.

Although six names emerged, Gamlin, the power minister in the Khandu-led cabinet, got the nod from the Congress party president around 9 p.m. Thursday.

Four central ministers - V. Narayanasamy, Mukul Wasnik, Salman Khurshid and Bijoy Krishan Handique - were present at the swearing-in ceremony.

Gamlin was a former MP in the Lok Sabha and as power minister he was instrumental in roping in several power giants to invest in setting up mini and mega hydropower projects in the state.

"I am committed to carrying forward the good pro-people policies of Dorjee Khandu. I am sad indeed to take oath on a day when his (Dorjee Khandu) body was retrieved from the crash site," Gamlin said soon after being sworn in.