End of an era in Assam as former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passes away

An era came to an end in Assam with the passing away of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. As the longest serving Chief Minister with a 15 year tenure in office, Gogoi was one of the tallest leaders of the state and the country.

Gogoi was born on 01 April 1936 into an ethnic Assamese Tai-Ahom family at Rangajan Tea Estate, erstwhile Sibsagar District, now the Jorhat District of Assam. His father, Dr .Kamaleshwar Gogoi was a medical practitioner at Rangajan Tea Estate.

Fondly called Punakon by his parents, Tarun Gogoi began his primary education at the No.26 Rangajan Nimna Buniyadi Vidyalaya (lower foundation school). From there he moved on to Jorhat Madrassa School where he studied up to class IV, and then moved to Bholaguri High School located near Badulipar Tea Estate where he studied till class VI.

In 1949, young Gogoi was enrolled at the Jorhat Government High School, from where he passed the HSLC Examination. He did his graduation from Jagannath Barooah College, located at Jorhat District, of Assam and after that he did LLB from Gauhati University, Assam. He is designated as an alumnus of the prestigious Jagannath Barooah College, Jorhat.

Gogoi became a political leader with national stature after he was elected Joint Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in 1976 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He later served as General Secretary of the AICC (1985–90) under Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Gogoi served in the Union Cabinet of India under Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao as Union Minister of State in the Food and Food Processing Industry departments (1991–96).

Gogoi served as the President of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) in 1986–90. He was elected to a second term as President in 1996.

Tarun Gogoi was elected Chief Minister of Assam in 2001 after he led the Indian National Congress to victory in the state elections. After this he led the party to a record three consecutive electoral victories in the state as Chief Minister.

Expressing his grief over the demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “Shri Tarun Gogoi Ji was a popular leader and a veteran administrator, who had years of political experience in Assam as well as the Centre. Anguished by his passing away. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in this hour of sadness. Om Shanti.”

President Ram Nath Kovind in his condolence message said that Gogoi will be remembered for developing Assam.

“Extremely sad to know of the demise of Shri Tarun Gogoi, former Chief Minister of Assam. The country has lost a veteran leader with rich political and administrative experience. His long tenure in office was a period of epochal change in Assam,” President Kovind tweeted.

Gogoi passed away in a Guwahati hospital on Monday battling post-Covid complications.