Last ‘proper conversation’ with Gogoi was in October: Himanta Biswa Sarma


GUWAHATI: Assam Health Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said that his last ‘proper conversation’ with his one-time mentor and former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who passed away on Monday due to post COVID-19 complications, was prior to his birthday on October 11.

The minister, who visited the three time former chief minister almost daily since he was admitted to the hospital after testing positive, told reporters here that he spoke to him as discussions were on to celebrate his birthday in the hospital.

“There is a long-standing tradition that a cake weighing the number of his age is cut on his birthday and this year, too, there were discussions to celebrate his birthday in the hospital”, Sarma, once a close associate of the veteran Congress leader, said in a choked voice.

The minister said that he told Gogoi that a gathering may result in him “getting infected and it will be better not to celebrate his birthday in this way but his family members can come and spend time with him”.

“He immediately agreed, did not ask a question and said-Yes Himanta, whatever you say”, Sarma said.

This was the “last proper conversation that I had with him but on my regular visits, I would enquire about his health and he would say that he was fine”, Sarma said.

“Usually, I would ask him how he was feeling, whether he had eaten and he replied accordingly. Sometimes when I said he looked good, he replied with just a smile,” Sarma said. The powerful minister, once a blue-eyed boy of Gogoi had later turned a dissident and later left the Congress to join BJP, steering his new party to victory in the 2016 assembly elections. The former chief minister was admitted to the hospital on August 26 and was subsequently released on October 25 but was again readmitted on November two, following further complications. During the entire period of hospitalisation, he was taken very good care by a dedicated team of doctors, paramedic and support staff, Sarma said. “Gratitude to them for best healthcare services extended to late Gogoi”, the minister tweeted. PTI