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Headlines  Vol. 2 Issue No. 24         April 1 - 15,  2006

Former Assam CM Golap Borbora is no more
North East News Agency

Golap Borbora, the first man to head non-Congress Government in Assam, is no more. He was 83 and was suffering from old age ailments. The end came late in the evening of March 19 at his Guwahati residence.

A staunch socialist, Golap Borbora was born in Golaghat and completed his early schooling in Tinsukia. He then left for Calcutta University to pursue higher studies. Influenced by the freedom struggle and the socialist revolution of that period, Borbora abandoned his studies and returned to Assam in 1947. A follower of Ram Manohar Lohia and Jai Prakash Narayan, Golap Borbora was imprisoned several times during the freedom movement and during the emergency, when he served 18 months in Tihar Jail. Coming out of Tihar Jail, Golap Borbora became the State unit president of the newly constituted Janata Party. He led the party to victory with 53 seats and was unanimously elected the first non-Congress Chief Minister of the State in 1978.

Golap Borbora represented the State in the Rajya Sabha between 1968 and 1974. Because of his tough stance against the Indira Gandhi regime, he was put behind the bars during the Emergency in 1975.

Apart from being a Rajya Sabha MP, Golap Borbora was also associated with several social and educational institutions. He was an office bearer of the North East Frontier Railway Employees Union and other labour organizations. Apart from politics, Golap Borbora authored few good books in his mother tongue.

Golap Borbora is survived by four sons including noted Advocate of Guwahati High Court  Arup Borbora, who is also one of the members of the Peoples Consultative Group (PCG), constituted by ULFA and heading talks with Government of India.

The Janata Party Government, led by Golap Borbora lasted for 18 months only. Many believe that his government was shortlived as he had tried to put a permanent brake on influx from neighbouring countries and also to demonopolise the liquor trade in tea garden belts. But even during this short stint in power, Golap Borbora-led Janata Party government in this State exempted land revenue for farmers up to 10 bighas, gave fee exemptions to school students upto HSLC level and all girls upto high school level. The Janata Party Government also introduced the provision of free medical treatment in all the government hospitals and removed obstacles in movement of foodstuff within the State.

Golap Borbora was a voracious reader and a good writer having encyclopedic knowledge of the political history of India and Assam. Ajoy Dutta, the joint secretary of the State Janata Legislative Party when the Janata government was in power described Borbora as one of the greatest sons of Assam having a very liberal approach. ¡§He had no house, no land of his own, died in a rented house and he was the lone Chief Minister of the nation who led a housing board tenant association,¡¨ he said.

Borbora was on ventilator for almost the whole month of January but miraculously recovered and came back to his residence. But after some days his condition started to detoriate again and this time he lost the battle.

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