Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday paid tributes to the mortal remains of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi in Guwahati on Wednesday and called the grand old party veteran his guru.
He said Gogoi's demise is a personal loss for him.
After arriving in Guwahati on a special flight from Goa, Gandhi straightaway reached Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, where the three-time chief minister's body has been kept for the public to pay their last respect.
He offered floral tributes to Gogoi's mortal remains in the presence of the veteran Congress leader's parliamentarian son Gaurav. Later he met, he met Gogoi's wife Dolly at their residence.
"I think Gogoi ji was not just a leader of Assam. He was a formidable CM and a national leader. He inspired us by uniting the people of Assam and bringing peace to the state," Gandhi told reporters.
Gogoi did a "great service" to Assam and a "tremendous service" to India, he said.
"I have spent many hours with Gogoi ji. He was my teacher, my guru. He explained to me what Assam is and what its people are. He narrated the beauty of Assam to me.
It's a personal loss for me," Gandhi said while standing beside Gogoi's body.
The Congress stalwart died on Monday while undergoing treatment for post-COVID-19 complications. He is survived by wife Dolly, daughter Chandrima and son Gaurav.
Earlier on Tuesday, Gogoi's body was taken to his official residence, the state civil secretariat Janata Bhawan, and the Assam Congress headquarters Rajiv Bhawan before mortal remains kept at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra for the people's last respect.
Assam Pradesh Congress chief Ripun Bora said that Gogoi's last rites are likely to be held at Manabendra Sarma Complex in Dispur on Thursday with full state honours.
The departed leader glass coffin, wrapped in wreaths and flowers, was shouldered by octogenarian leader's Parliamentarian son Gaurav Gogoi, Ripun Bora, opposition leader Debabrata Saikia and other senior leaders like Pradyut Bordoloi and Rakibul Hussain.
During the procession with the body of the former Assam Chief Minister, thousands of passersby and waiting men and women offered their floral tributes to their beloved leader with many of them were seen weeping.
In Janata Bhawan, the state secretariat, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, police chief Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta and many senior officials offered floral tributes.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday announced a three-day state mourning in honour of Gogoi, who served Assam as Chief Minister for 15 years -- 2001-2016.
A six-time member of parliament from Assam in between 1971 to 2001, former Gogoi was sitting MLA from Titabar Assembly constituency in Jorhat district at the time of his death.
Gogoi was discharged from the GMCH on October 25 after he recovered from Covid-19 and other post-recovery complications after more than 60 days.
However, the post-Covid-19 complications forced the veteran politician to admit again in the GMCH on November 2 and his condition deteriorated gradually since Friday.
Doctors at GMCH were in constant touch with experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. Due to his critical condition, Gogoi could not be shifted outside the state for treatment.