Veteran Congress leader and former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s son, Gaurav, a sitting Lok Sabha MP, has sought blessings from people of the state to fulfill his father’s last wishes.
Speaking to journalists after performing the late leader’s last rites in Guwahati on Thursday at the Nabagraha crematorium, Gaurav thanked everyone for showering love, respect and prayers for the departed soul.
The 84-year-old, three time chief-minister, passed away on Monday at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) after battling Covid-19 and complications related to the disease for nearly three months.
“I have suffered a big loss, but I am not sad. I am at peace to see the love and respect and prayers of the people of Assam for him. According to doctors at GMCH, his last wish was to visit Titabar (the constituency Gogoi represented in Assam assembly),” Gaurav told journalists.
Gogoi was reportedly unhappy that he had not been able to visit Titabar due to his illness. He also wanted to visit all parts of Assam and convey his last wishes and dreams for Assam to the public through the media.
“The family has decided that we will take his ashes to Titabar and across Assam as per his wishes. Though he is not with us, his thoughts, teachings and ideas are with us,” said Gaurav.
“As his son, I will try to fulfill his last wishes and seek the blessings of the people of Assam for that. I thank them for the immense outpouring of love and respect for my father,” he added.
Gogoi’s last rites were conducted with full state honours including a 21-gun salute. Gogoi’s wife Dolly, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, several senior ministers, senior bureaucrats, police officers and Congress in-charge for Assam Jitendra Singh were present on the occasion.
Earlier, on Thursday morning Gogoi’s body was taken from Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, where it had been kept for the public to pay respects, to his official residence for some rituals associated with the last rites.
From there it was taken in a procession to a church, a ‘naam-ghar’ (prayer house), a mosque and two temples before the cortege proceeded to the Nabagraha crematorium for the last rites.
Gogoi’s mortal remains were placed in a flower-decked vehicle where his son Gaurav, few family members and senior leaders of Congress including state unit president Ripun Bora were present.
Hundreds of people lined the streets along which the procession passed to bid their final adieu to Gogoi-a scene not seen earlier in Guwahati for any political leader.
Nine years ago, thousands had thronged the streets to pay their respects to one of Assam’s foremost cultural icons, Bharat Ratna Bhupen Hazarika.
The Assam government had declared a half-day state holiday on Thursday as a mark of respect to Gogoi. A three-day state mourning had been declared on the day of his demise.
Gogoi, who served as chief minister for three terms from 2001 to 2016 (Assam’s longest serving chief minister) is credited with ushering peace and stability to the state after two decades of insurgency.
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