SILCHAR, Aug 2 - Born on April 1, 1934, Santosh Mohan Dev, popularly known as Rana Dev, was the eldest son of noted freedom fighter from Northeast, Satindra Mohan Dev. His father has very close political relations with India�s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Santosh Mohan Dev did his schooling at the Cachar High School and studied BCom from Guru Charan College and completed his MBA from the Welsh College in Cardiff, UK. A passionate reader, Dev sought inspiration from famous Bengali writers like Bankim Chandra and Rabindranath Tagore.
Dev, a seven-time Congress MP, started his political journey as chairman of the Silchar Municipal Board in 1979. Amid stiff opposition, Dev made it to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1980 from Silchar. Henceforth, he represented Silchar as many as five times and Tripura on two occasions.
He was assigned the responsibility as the Heavy Industries Minister during the UPA-I regime led by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Earlier, he also served as Minister of State for Communications from 1986-1988 and MoS for Home from 1988-1989. Dev was the Minister of Steel (independent charge) in the government led by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao in 1991. He has also represented India in the Population Conference held in China in 1982 and was also a member of the Indian Parliamentary Delegation to Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference at Isle of Man in 1984.
The 2009 Lok Sabha elections proved to be a major setback for the seasoned politician as he lost to his competitor Kabindra Purakaystha of the BJP. However, even as he was not so much visible in active politics, Dev continued to make his presence felt in the political ambit of south Assam with his daughter Susmita Dev making it to the Silchar Municipal Board as the chairperson in the same year. It was around that time, his wife Bithika Dev represented Silchar in the Assam Legislative Assembly. Later Susmita won the Assembly elections in 2009 and Lok Sabha election in 2014.
Known for his close acquaintances with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Dev was instrumental in driving home the Bill on the floor of the Parliament for setting up of Assam University at Silchar. The movement for the establishment of the university here was, however, carried forward by student associations as well.
An erudite leader, Dev was an avid sports lover. In his heyday, Dev was also a certified and professionally qualified Football Referee. Dev has the All Assam Lawn Tennis Championship title to his credit. He was the chief patron of the SM Dev stadium named after his father.
After marking an end to his active and illustrious political career, Dev had been troubled by ill health. Battling with prolonged illness, Dev left for his heavenly abode on August 2, this year at 6.06 am at the age of 83.
The Government of Assam has declared local holiday on August 3 on account of the funeral of former Union Minister Santosh Mohan Dev who passed away on Wednesday morning after prolonged illness.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, expressing grief over the death of the former Congress MP, has said in his tweet that there will be local holiday in three districts of Barak Valley on Thursday. Also, the former minister will be given state funeral.
Meanwhile, Dev scion and Silchar MP Susmita Dev has expressed her gratitude to the government for the announcements.