Political and social guardian: Assam remembers Tarun Gogoi
Guwahati, Nov 23: Political leaders, civil society members, educationists, artistes and eminent personalities of Assam on Monday remembered former chief minister Tarun Gogoi as a "political and social guardian" of the state.
State minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, once a blue-eyed boy of Gogoi in Congress, described his political mentor as a man of "grand vision and extraordinary passion".
"Sri Tarun Gogoi was an intensely people''s man, focused on progress and enjoyed support of all. I was lucky to have worked under him. He rescued Assam from a period of darkness and led it for 15 yrs ensuring a new phase of development," he tweeted.
Sarma, who held many important portfolios in Gogoi''s cabinet in all three terms, said the loss is huge and his absence will create a vacuum in Assam''s politics that shall be difficult to fill.
Fondly remembering his long association, state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said Gogoi''s death is a personal loss to him.
"His smiling face will disturb me a lot. He was like our political and social guardian and we will immensely miss him," he added.
AIUDF president and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal described Gogoi as the true son of the soil, and remembered him as a seasoned leader and architect of modern Assam, spending most of his life working towards the progress of the state.
"Despite our political differences, I and Gogoi sahab shared a very cordial relationship. The last time I visited and talked to him in the hospital, he greeted me with smile and enquired about me and my family''s well being as soon as he saw me. His death is a great loss for the state," Ajmal tweeted.
State Congress chief and Rajya Sabha MP Ripun Bora said the party has become "guardian-less" with his passing away.
"We don''t know what to say. It is an irreparable loss to the state and its people that is beyond any expression," he added.
Congress Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi said Gogoi''s demise marks the end of an era in the state as well as the Northeast.
Assam Agriculture Minister and AGP president Atul Bora expressed his anguish at the demise of Gogoi and said his contribution towards Assam and the nation shall always be remembered.
Industries and Commerce Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, "As the Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, Tarun Gogoi contributed a lot for the progress and prosperity of Assam. He was also a towering leader who had an illustrious career in national politics from being an MP to Union Minister."
Gogoi was a leader of the masses and always upheld the democratic ethos and values of the country, he added.
Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said he is deeply pained by the demise of the former chief minister of Assam.
"His contributions towards the state and his visionary leadership will be remembered by generations to come. I join the entire state in expressing my deepest condolences to his family & friends," he added.
Other ministers -- Naba Kumar Doley, Keshab Mahanta, Pijush Hazarika, Pramila Rani Brahma and Chandan Brahma -- too expressed their condolences.
Assam Police on its official Twitter handle said Gogoi was "a father figure and inspiration".
"With his passing, the Nation and the State have lost a great leader. Our heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and loved ones," the police force said.
All India Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev said the party has lost a stalwart in Gogoi, who was "the most humble and accessible to all as a chief minister".
"He was inclusive as a leader and fearless. His contribution to build Assam is unmatched. My deepest condolences to his family," she tweeted.
Besides the leaders, all major political parties of the state -- Congress, BJP, AGP, AIUDF, BPF, Raijor Dal, Assam Jatiya Parishad, CPI(M) and Anchalik Gana Morcha condoled the death of the former chief minister.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), All Assam Students'' Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), Students Federation of India (SFI) and many other student bodies too expressed their sorrow.
Leading singers like Zubeen Garg, Manas Robin and Loknath Goswami, theatre personalities Sitanath Lahkar, Tarun Talukdar, Robijita Gogoi and many others mourned the death of the veteran politician, saying he always upheld artistic freedom and was never opposed to criticism.
In a statement, the Christian Community of Assam expressed its deepest sorrow and offered its condolences at the demise of Gogoi.
"The community has lost a valuable friend and an adherent supporter. The community while praying for the eternal repose of his soul also wishes to express its solidarity with his family members at this difficult time while assuring them of its prayers and support," Assam Christian Forum spokesperson Allen Brooks said.
Gogoi died at the age of 84 while undergoing treatment for post-COVID-19 complications.
He was the chief minister of Assam from 2001 to 2016, a six-time parliamentarian and Union minister twice.