GUWAHATI: The departure of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi has not only left nationwide politicians remembering his skillful ways of handling the ‘complex’ politics of Assam, but his demise has even made Paresh Baruah led banned militant outfit of Ulfa (Independent) to pay homage to him.
It was 2001 when Gogoi took charge of Dispur and inherited a state ravaged by two-decades-long militancy, security crackdowns and ethnic violence. From the dark ages of ‘secret killing’ when Ulfa militants and their relatives were targets killed by unknown assailants, Gogoi in his 15-year long reign not only managed to bring almost all the militant outfits of the state to peace parley but to take Assam on a road of progress.
President of Ulfa (I), Abhijit Asom in an email statement said, “Gogoi has not only brought Assam’s secret killings to an end but also took a leading role in dealing with the People’s Consultative Group (PCG), a citizen’s group in Assam established by Ulfa in 2005 to initiate the peace talk process as a mediator, to bring peace to the state.”
The statement added, “Ulfa (I) unhesitatingly acknowledge Gogoi’s role and that’s why his grandeur has touched every section of people cutting across political parties, religion and communities. He will live amongst the Assamese community forever.”
For those who were in close proximity to deceased Gogoi, they remembered how his politics of development was based on a ‘reverse’ theory. They termed Gogoi as the architecture for peace. It was during Gogoi’s 15 years when there were peace talks with a section of the Ulfa and Bodo militants, and autonomous councils for six ethnic minorities.
Assam Pradesh Congress President Ripun Bora said, “While Gogoi took charge everyone was talking about restoring peace but the former chief minister always believed that development in Assam should not wait for peace. He used to say that peace will come automatically if there’s progress.”
Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, once Gogoi’s ‘blue-eyed boy’ said, “Gogoi has rescued Assam from a period of darkness and ensured a new phase of development while leading the state for 15 years.”
Assam’s present chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal who succeeded Gogoi said, “Tarun Gogoi was a people’s leader who had a great contribution in Assam’s political and public sphere. Even though we were in Opposition parties, we shared a wonderful rapport and he was a guiding figure.”