Ex-Assam CM Bhumidhar Barman dies at 91

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(Eds: Updating with latest inputs) Guwahati, Apr 18 (PTI) Former Assam chief minister Bhumidhar Barman died on Sunday evening at a private hospital in Guwahati after a prolonged illness, his family said.

He was 91.

Barman, a veteran Congress leader, was a two-time chief minister of the state.

The Assam government declared three-day state mourning as a mark of respect to Barman.

In a statement, the government said that his body will be cremated with full state honour.

Barman's first term as the chief minister lasted from April 22 to May 14, 1996 when his predecessor Hiteswar Saikia died.

He was again made the chief minister in 2010 when then CM Tarun Gogoi had gone to Mumbai for his heart surgery.

Barman was a minister in both Hiteswar Saikia and Tarun Gogoi governments, holding important portfolios like Health, Education and Revenue, among others.

Political leaders, including Governor Jagdish Mukhi and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, condoled the death.

Mukhi described Barman as a veteran leader who contributed immensely to the development of the state, taking it to a great height.

'His death is a great loss and will create a void in the social and political spectrum of the state. Dr Barman, however, left behind a rich legacy of his works and contributions which will definitely be a source of inspiration for the posterity,' the governor said.

The chief minister said the state has lost an experienced and capable politician with the death of Barman.

'He played an important role in the development journey of the state in his short tenure as the Chief Minister and also in the capacity of a cabinet minister and his demise would remain an irreparable loss to the society,' Sonowal said.

Expressing condolence, the state Congress said that it would miss his vast repertoire of knowledge and guidance.

State Congress president Ripun Bora extended his condolences to the bereaved family.

AICC general secretary Jitendra Singh, who is in charge of Assam, also expressed his condolences, describing Barman as a guiding light.

State BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul.

Akhil Gogoi's Raijor Dal also condoled the former chief minister's death.

Barman, a seven-term MLA, was first elected to the Assam Assembly in 1967, as per the official records.

He represented Borkhetry in the Nalbari district for four terms.

His son Diganta Barman contested from the seat in 2016 and lost. He was also the Congress candidate from the seat this time.

Barman was also the two-time MLA of Nalbari West, and once won the election from Dharmapur.

A doctor by profession, Barman had graduated from Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh in 1958.

He is survived by a son and three daughters. His wife predeceased him. PTI DG ESB SOM SOM