Tarun Gogoi was my 'guru', treated me like son: Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.. Image Source: IANS
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.. Image Source: IANS

GUWAHATI, NOVEMBER 25 (IANS): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Wednesday that former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was like his 'guru', who treated him like his own son Gaurav Gogoi.

Veteran Congress leader and three-time (2001-2016) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passed away at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) on Monday evening after protracted illness. He was 86.

"Tarun Gogoi was a formidable Chief Minister and a national leader. He brought the people of Assam together, established peace in the state and changed the face of Assam," Rahul Gandhi said after paying his respect to Gogoi, whose body is now kept at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati for the public to pay their homage.

He told the media that the former Chief Minister had in-deapth knowledge of the complexity of Assam.

"Leaders like Gogoi were like pillars of the party (Congress) and it is a very sad day for us. His demise is a great 'personal loss' to me. When I talked to him, I always felt I was talking with Assam," the former Congress President said.

After arriving in Guwahati on a special flight, Gandhi went straight to the Kalakshetra and paid his respect and floral tribute to Gogoi.

"When I first came to Assam, I was young and thought I knew everything. Then I sat with Gogoi ji, who taught me humility. He was like a 'guru' who taught his students the art of politics," Rahul Gandhi said.

From Kalakshetra, Rahul Gandhi went to Gogoi's official residence in Dispur to meet his wife, daughter and son and spent about 30 minutes with them before leaving for Delhi.

The Congress leader said: "Whenever I came to Assam, I sat with him for hours. Gogoi ji never spoke about himself, not for a single minute. He used to talk only about Assam and its people. He had excellent views for the state and the region." The longest serving Assam Chief Minister breathed his last at the GMCH on Monday after undergoing treatment since November 2 for post-Covid-19 complications.

A six-time MP from Assam between 1971 and 2001 and a former Union minister, Gogoi is survived by his wife Dolly Gogoi, daughter Chandrima and son Gaurav.

He was a sitting MLA from the Titabar Assembly constituency in Jorhat district at the time of his death.

Assam Pradesh Congress President Ripun Bora said that Gogoi's last rites are likely to be held at the Manabendra Sarma Complex in Dispur on Thursday with full state honours.

"As per Gogoi's wish, his body will be taken to a temple, a mosque and a church before the last rites are performed," Bora had earlier said.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had earlier announced three-day state mourning in Gogoi's honour.