Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi Passes Away In Guwahati After A Long Post-COVID Battle

The 84-year-old's demise was announced by Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Former Assam CM Tarun Gogoi Passes Away In Guwahati After A Long Post-COVID Battle
Former Assam CM, Tarun Gogoi (File Photo)

After a long post-COVID battle, 3-time Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passed away on Monday at 5:34 PM after multi-organ failure at Guwahati Medical College Hospital. The 84-year-old's demise was announced by Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Gogoi was diagnosed with Covid in August end, but later battled post-Covid complications after testing negative. He is survived by his wife - Dolly Gogoi, daughter Chandrima Gogoi and son Gaurav Gogoi - Kalibar Lok Sabha MP.

Tarun Gogoi passes away

"Fmr CM Tarun Gogoi is no more. He passed away at 5:34 PM. He was on life support. Doctors tried their best," said Sarma. 

Gogoi's COVID complications

The veteran Congress leader was diagnosed with Covid in August end and recovered on being administered plasma therapy. After developing post-COVID complications on testing negative, he was put on non-invasive ventilation since November 2. His health deteriorated on Saturday afternoon and was kept on six-hour dialysis on Sunday, said Sarma.He added that the leader was flushed with toxins and was not in a position to undergo the process again, the minister said. Several Assam leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma, AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal, APCC chief Ripun Bora, CM Sarbananda Sonowal visited the leader, who remained unconscious. Sonawal had cancelled all his events for the day and rushed back to Guwahati as Gogoi's health deteriorated.

About Tarun Gogoi

Tarun Gogoi - fondly called 'Punakon' - was born to Dr. Kamaleshwar Gogoi - a medical practitioner and Usha Gogoi on 01 April 1936 in Assam's Sibsagar District (now known as Jorhat). After completing his LLB from  Jagannath Barooah College, Gogoi joined politics in 1968 as a member of the Jorhat Municipal Board. In 1971, Gogoi was elected to the Lok Sabha from Jorhat for the first time. He was re-elected to Lok Sabha 1977, 1980 and then 1985 - serving under two Prime Ministers - Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. During his time in the Centre, he held cabinet post - Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Food & Food processing later, between 1991-1995.

Inspite of being a 6-time Lok Sabha MP, he was perceived as a low-profile politician till he became Assam's CM. In 1997, he was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Margherita Assembly Constituency and took over the reins of the state on May 17, 2001, winning  Titabor assembly constituency which he held till 2016. The 4-time MLA was re-elected as CM for three back-to-back terms from 2001 to 2016,

Longest serving Assam CM

His term as CM was difficult as he was charged with the responsibility of steering the strife-torn state from violence to growth. His first term as CM was also met with several internal struggles with cabinet colleagues Sarat Barkataki, Devanand Konwar and Ardhendu Kumar Dey disagreeing with each other and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind - demanding key portfolios like the Home Department. Being the General Secretary of the AICC (1985–90), Gogoi soothed over the internal relations and promoted younger cabinet ministers.

Through his three terms as Chief Minister, Assam saw a 'turn-around' with communication, power, employment and health sectors majorly boosted. He was also responsible for the assuaging fears of people over 'extra-judicial killings' with the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) joining mainstream politics in 2003. Several journalists from Assam point out that Gogoi was always approachable and always welcomed difference of opinions, not allowing it to affect their working relationship.

His last term as CM was marked with the rebellion of his former protégée Himanta Biswa Sarma, who quit the Congress and joined the BJP. With his health deteriorating, he announced in 2014, that he will not be leading the Congress in the state in 2016 elections. Sarma, who has since then been made BJP's North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor, led the BJP to its first victory in the north-eastern state, ushering in Sarbananda Sonawal's maiden term. Recently, Gogoi had reached out to Ajmal to seal a Congress-AIUDF alliance for the 2021 elections, as per reports - his last political act.