Guwahati, Nov 25 (PTI) The All Assam Students' Union (AASU), a strong critic of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, on Wednesday described him as a tall leader who contributed immensely to the development of the state.
A delegation of the newly-elected functionaries of the students' organisation, led by its advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya, paid their last respects to Gogoi at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.
They said that Gogoi tried to find a permanent solution to the many problems of the state democratically.
It was due to the initiative of Gogoi as the chief minister that a tripartite meeting was held for the first time under the chairmanship of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to discuss the updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), Bhattacharya said.
'We did protest for the updating of the NRC and he responded to our demands positively by organising the tripartite meeting where the decision to update the NRC was taken,' he said.
The meeting had also discussed the issue of declaring the floods and erosion problems of the state as a national problem, Bhattacharya said.
'In his long journey as the chief minister, he tried to solve the problems of Assam permanently through the democratic processes and contributed immensely to the development of our state,' he said.
He took the bold step of ending secret killings in the state as soon as he took charge in 2001 and had expressed his wish to solve the decades-old foreigners issue in the state and following the AASU's demand had taken the initiative to seal the porous Indo-Bangla border, Bhattacharya added.
'We had invited Gogoi to visit the porous border along with us but had doubts whether a chief minister will come with us or even whether our demands will be heard,' he said.
Gogoi, however, visited the border with the AASU delegation and took initiatives to protect it, Bhattacharya said.
The AASU leader said that there were contradictions but Gogoi, the longest-serving chief minister of the state who was in power till 2016, was sincere and had expressed his will to resolve issues through discussions, which shows his democratic attitude.
'We have to admit today that Gogoi always made attempts to face each agitation of ours in a democratic manner. This was the reflection of his democratic thinking and we feel that other politicians also need to respect this democratic approach,' Bhattacharya said. PTI DG SOM SOM