Guwahati, April 18 : Veteran Congress leader and former Assam Chief Minister Bhumidhar Barman died here on Sunday evening after protracted illness, Congress leaders said. He was 89.
He is survived by a son and a daughter. His wife had predeceased him.
Congress sources said that the veteran leader had been on ventilator support at the ICU of Dispur Hospital for the last 28 days.
Barman, a member of the Assam Assembly seven times since 1967, held the Chief Minister's chair twice - once between April 22, 1996, and May 14, 1996, after the death of then Chief Minister Hiteshwar Saikia, and then, again in 2010, when then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was on leave on medical grounds.
A graduate from Assam Medical College in Dibrugarh in 1958, Barman was a minister in the Saikia and Gogoi governments, holding important portfolios like Health, Education and Revenue. His son, Diganta Barman, is currently the Congress candidate from Barkhetry constituency.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his grief.
"Anguished by the passing away of former Assam CM and senior politician, Shri Bhumidhar Barman. My thoughts are with his family and supporters in this hour of grief," he tweeted.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Health and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Pradesh Congress President Ripun Bora, Congress General Secretary-in- charge of Assam Jitendra Singh, among others, condoled the death.
Sonowal tweeted: "Saddened to learn about the demise of former Chief Minister of Assam Dr. Bhumidhar Barman. My sincere condolences to his bereaved family members and well-wishers. Om shanti." Sarma, in a tweet, said: "Today we lost a stalwart of Assam politics - former CM and 7-time MLA Late Bhumidhar Barman. I have fond memories of his guidance and affection, starting with my early political career. He leaves behind a rich legacy of good politics & work. We shall miss him." Bora, in a statement, said that Assam Congress would miss his vast repertoire of knowledge and guidance that he gave to the party.