Assam’s longest-serving Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, was cremated Thursday with full state honours after an emotional farewell journey that slowly passed through the roads of Guwahati, lined with thousands of residents waiting to pay their final respects.
Stopping at a church, a Namghar (Vaishnavite prayer hall), a mosque, a temple, and a Bihu field — in accordance with Gogoi’s wishes — the procession finally made its way to the city’s Nabagraha crematorium where the three-time chief minister’s body was consigned to the flames by his son, Gaurav.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, senior ministers, including one-time protege Himanta Biswa Sarma, senior Congress leaders, leaders of opposition parties and DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta were among those who laid wreaths on the Congress leader’s body.
Massive crowds gathered outside the cremation ground and all along the way through which the popular leader’s cortege passed, showering petals and capturing the moment on cameras. Large television screens were also installed outside Nabagraha.
At the cremation ground, Gaurav Gogoi said his father had a final wish of travelling through the state once. “We have decided that his ashes will be taken to Titabor (his constituency) first, and then across the state,” he said.
The three-time chief minister, two-time Union minister and six-time Lok Sabha MP died on Monday at the age of 84 following a nearly four-month battle with Covid-19 and related complications.
Since Tuesday afternoon, his body had been placed at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, a cultural institution in Guwahati, for people to pay their respects.
The state government had also declared a half-day holiday on Thursday.
“It is the end of an era… A long era of Assam’s politics came to an end today… Assam’s history will never forget Tarun Gogoi’s contribution to Assam’s public life,” Sarma said.
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