GUWAHATI/ SHILLONG, dimapur, Aug 16: The news of Atal Bihari Vajpeyee’s demise cast a pall of gloom in Assam and Northeastern states.
Three Northeastern states, Assam, Meghalaya and Nagaland have announced state holiday as a mark of respect to the departed soul on Friday.
In addition to the nationwide mourning, all government, private sector schools and educational institutions, government and semi government and public sector offices will remain closed in the state on Friday to honour the departed leader, an Assam government release informed here on Thursday.
In a message, Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi mourned the death of former Prime Minister and described him as a towering personality and a powerful national voice who had played crucial roles even on the international political scene. Mukhi said that in his death, the nation had lost an eminent statesman who had earned the unique distinction of being the first non-Congress Prime Minister who led the country three times as Prime Minister.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressed his heartfelt condolences on the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said that with his death the country has lost a visionary politician, a great humanitarian, who was deeply loved by people across party line.
In a message, Sonowal said that Vajpayee had a soft corner for Assam and Northeast. He took keen interest in the development of Northeast and played an instrumental role in creating DoNER to expedite the overall development of Northeast. The foundation stone of Bogibeel Project was laid during his tenure as the Prime Minister.
Among a series of projects that can be credited to his direct intervention, he dedicated Numaligarh Refinery and Naranarayn Bridge to the Nation. Moreover, his moral support to the cause of Assam Agitation will long be remembered by the people in Assam, Sonowal said.
Remembering his personal association with the former Prime Minister since the time he was a student, Sonowal said that he was personally benefitted from the advice and suggestions of Vajapyee. He also said, “I still bear in mind the time I spent with him as an MLA when he came to lay the foundation stone of Bogibeel bridge way back in 2002”
Assam industries and commerce minister Chandra Mohan Patowary has condoled the demise of the former prime minister and said, “Vajpayee was an iconic statesman and stalwart of Indian politics. A revered politician, Vajpayee was widely appreciated in national and international arena for his acumen and foresight. One of the most popular public figures of the country, Vajpayee was loved, appreciated and regarded as a role model by generations of leaders in the country. His demise is a huge loss for the nation.”
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president and Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora and leader of opposition Debabrata Saikia also condoled the death of the former Prime Minister and said the nation has lost a great leader.
All Assam Students Union (AASU), Asam Sahitya Sabha, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), Bodo Sahitya Sabha and hundreds of social organisations condoled the death of the former Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, Assam Chamber of Commerce in association with Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has requested all businessmen and traders to keep their shops and markets closed on Friday as a mark of respect to the former Prime Minister.
On the other hand, the CAIT has called for a Trade Bandh on Friday to pay tribute to a leader who inspired to form CAIT in 1990.
Meghalaya government has declared August 17 as state holiday to mourn the demise of Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
In his tweet, chief minister, Conrad K Sangma informed that all schools, colleges and government establishments will remain close on August 17 to mourn the demise of former prime minister.
Expressing his condolence on the demise of former Bharat Ratna Awardee, the chief minister said, “I am sad to learn about the passing away of former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee was a veteran and able administrator who served the nation in different spheres. He was a Member of Parliament for over four decades, being elected ten times to the Lok Sabha and twice to the Rajya Sabha until 2009 when he retired from active politics.”
The chief minister further said, “Vajpayee will be remembered for his keen interest to develop the North Eastern states was very clear when he day long brainstorming on socio- economic development of the Northeastern states with his key ministers then LK Advani, Yashwant Sinha, deputy chairman of the planning commission KC Pant and Governors and chief ministers of the Northeastern states to Shillong on January 21, 2000.”
“Under Prime Minister Vajpayee, the Central government created a separate department of DoNER to ensure all round development in the region, the East-West corridor connecting Assam’s Silchar with Gujarat’s Porbandar and many more,” he added.
“In his passing away, the nation has lost an eminent public figure and multi-faceted personality who made immense contribution for the greater good of our country,” Sangma said adding, “On behalf of the people of Meghalaya and from the family members of my late father Purno Agitok Sangma, I send our deepest condolences and sympathies to his family members. I pray to the Almighty to give the family the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss.”
BJP MLA from Meghalaya and health and family welfare minister AL Hek said, “In this sorrowful time I would extend my heartfelt Condolences of the sudden demise of Vajpayee a great statesman of India the first Prime Minister from BJP who became thrice as the Prime Minister of India. (Late) Shri Vajpayeeji he is my political mentor. His death will be particularly felt by the whole nation.”
“The memory of his brilliant leadership will however, remain a source of inspiration for me and the people of the country,” he said adding “I honour his legacy and mourn his death alongside his family and friends.”
Congress legislator and former Meghalaya minister, Dr Ampareen Lyngdoh tweeted “Sad to hear about the passing of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayeeji will always be remembered for his humility, and the respect he held for his colleagues in and outside Parliament. My deepest condolences to his family.”
The Nagaland government has announced seven-day state mourning from Thursday to August 22 as a mark of respect for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who passed away on Thursday.
In a notification, the government said all government offices, educational institutions, both government and private, will remain closed on Friday as a mark of respect to the departed dignitary.
The national flag would be flown at half mast for seven days and there will be no official entertainment during the period of the state mourning, it said.
Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya, chief minister Neiphiu Rio and the Nagaland Pradesh Congress condoled the death of former Prime Minister.
In a condolence message, Acharya said the whole nation is deeply saddened to hear the demise of Vajpayee, who was the Prime Minister of India for three times. He was the first non-Congress Indian Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term, the governor said.
“I am fortunate and blessed as party worker to have close contact and had guidance for a long period of 20 years with late Vajpayeeji,” Acharya stated.
In his passing away, the nation has lost a statesman, a great human being, a poet, tall leader and above all a patriot, the governor said and prayed that the departed soul rest in peace.
Rio described Vajpayee as a towering personality of modern India who will be remembered as one of the most popular prime ministers of India.
He said the people of Nagaland has special place in their hearts for the former prime minister who during his three-day visit to the state in October 2003 made a historic statement in Kohima, which was a defining moment in the relationship between the Nagas and the rest of the country.
“It is true that, of all the states in India, Nagaland has a unique history. We are sensitive to this historical fact,” Rio quoted Vajpayee as saying.
“Even as we pray to Almighty God to let his soul rest in peace, we rededicate ourselves in carrying out the beliefs and principles of late Vajpayee in our everyday lives,” Rio said.
Condoling Vajpayee’s death, the Nagaland Pradesh Congress said the nation has lost a great leader, a gifted orator, poet and a statesman. It said Vajpayee’s recognition of Naga history as “unique” gave a new added dimension to the Indo-Naga peace talks. It prayed for rest of the departed soul in peace.