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Ex Rajya Sabha member Robert Kharshiing no more

Robert Kharshiing was a former Rajya Sabha member from Meghalaya, who had demanded to make the Indian rupee “a free and fully convertible rupee” like the US dollar, passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday. He was 63.

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Shillong: Robert Kharshiing, former Rajya Sabha member from Meghalaya, who had demanded to make the Indian rupee “a free and fully convertible rupee” like the US dollar, passed away at a private hospital here on Thursday. He was 63.

Kharshiing was the chief whip of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in the Rajya Sabha from April 2002 to April 2008. He was also elected as member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on the then Hills People’s Union in 1990 and was appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Meghalaya State Planning Board.

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“My eldest brother Robert died at Nazareth hospital at 1030 a.m. this morning at a private hospital after a prolonged illness,” Robert’s younger brother Francis Kharshiing said.

Kharshiing left behind his wife Nune Grigoryan, his siblings John Kharshiing, Agnes Kharshiing, Francis Kharshiing, Michael Kharshiing and a host of nephews and nieces. Before joining active electoral politics, Robert was the president of the influential Khasi Student’s Union, village chief of Laitumkhrah Dorbar Shnong.

He had also taught in St. Xavier’s School, Mumbai and St. Anthony’s School, Shillong. Robert was also the former president of the Nationalist Congress Party and also the party chief whip in Rajya Sabha.

As a parliamentarian, Robert had demanded to make the Indian rupee – “a free and fully convertible rupee” like US dollar to ensure transparency and dramatically reduce corruption for the benefit of the Indian citizens as a whole.

He had referred to the two parliamentary committees that recommended freeing the rupee including the recommendations made by a committee headed by Dr Manmohan Singh, who was then the Finance Minister. Robert had also fervently advocated for an “all-party national government” to govern a huge and diverse nation such as India.

Meanwhile, host leaders cutting across political affiliations and people visited their residence of Robert and paid their last respect. Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and his cabinet colleagues have condoled the demise of Robert.

“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing away of Robert Kharshiing, former MP of the Rajya Sabha. My prayers and deepest condolences to the bereaved family,” Conrad tweeted.

Condoling the demise of his former party member, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar tweeted, “Deeply pained by the demise of former Rajya Sabha member from Meghalaya Robert Kharshiing.

He was a senior member of NCP and represented the party in North-East with his vast political experience. My heartfelt condolences to his family members. May his soul rest in peace.” 

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