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Three-time former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passes away


Three-time former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passed away due to multiple organ failure at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) in Guwahati on Monday.

The announcement of death was made by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. He said Gogoi passed away at 5:34 pm. His son and Lok Sabha member Gaurav Gogoi and other family members were by his side when he breathed his last.

The 86-year-old Congress veteran was suffering from post-COVID-19 complications. Over the past three months, since he tested positive for COVID-19, he had been in and out of the GMCH. After his health condition had deteriorated, he was put on complete life support. A ten-member team of doctors from the GMCH treated him in consultations with experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal cancelled his programmes in Dibrugarh and rushed to Guwahati. He said Gogoi had always been a father figure to him. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called up to enquire about Gogoi’s health. A bevvy of politicians, cutting across party lines, also visited the hospital.

In his five-decade-old illustrious political career, Gogoi had served as an MP for several terms. He had first donned the chief minister’s mantle in 2001 and held the position till 2016 when the Congress was ousted by a resurgent BJP.

Born in 1934 in Jorhat district, Gogoi had his early education at No 26 Rangajan Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya, Bholaguri High School and Jorhat Government High School. He did his graduation from the JB College in Jorhat and LLB from the Gauhati University. His father was a medical practitioner at the Rangajan Tea Estate in Jorhat.

He was first elected to the Parliament in 1971 when he won from the prestigious Jorhat seat. In 1976, he was elected as the joint secretary of All India Congress Committee. Later, he served as the party’s general secretary (1985–90). He was appointed as a minister in the Cabinet of former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1991. 

Gogoi also served as the president of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (1986-90) and was an MLA for four terms. In the Assembly, he first represented the Margherita seat. Since 2001, he had represented the Titabor constituency. 

He was credited with the taming insurgency in the state. When he had taken over as the CM in 2001, bomb blasts by the militants were the order of the day. His government had made peace with several insurgent groups vis-a-vis the signing of ceasefire agreements. The state’s economic condition was precarious when he became CM. He revived it.

Reminiscing the days of bloodshed, Assam’s Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta said: “He (Gogoi) used to tell us there shouldn’t be any compromise on national security. He would say go for them (militants) but do it with a humane face”.