AIZAWL, March 27 - R Lalawia, former Mizoram Assembly Speaker and a successful businessmen, passed away at the Aizawl Hospital around 3 am today due to prolonged illness. He was 73.
Lalawia was first elected to the Mizoram Assembly as an Independent candidate in 1984. After Mizoram became a State following the signing of a peace agreement between India and the Mizo National Front (MNF), he contested the first State Assembly elections from Khawhai constituency in 1987 and got elected.
In 1989, Lalawia was one of the nine members of the Indian Government�s high-powered committee on forest and environment. He was among the dissident MNF MLAs who left Laldenga�s leadership and formed the MNF (Democrats).
Lalawia later rejoined the MNF and got elected from the Khawhai constituency in the 1998 elections and was made the Assembly Speaker � a post he had held till 2004. Rising salaries and perks for MLAs, use of Mizo as an official language in the Assembly Secretariat, and Cabinet rank to the Opposition leader were the achievements during his tenure as the Assembly Speaker.
In the later part of his political career, Lalawia became the vice president of the Zoram Nationalist Party. He left the party in 2014 and retired from active politics.