SILCHAR, Aug 2 - Former Union minister and Congress heavyweight Santosh Mohan Dev passed away at a hospital here today following cardiac arrest and multiple organ failure. He was 83. Dev is survived by his wife and former Silchar legislator, Bithika Dev, and four daughters including Susmita Dev, the sitting Silchar MP.
�Nothing could have prepared me for this moment. I lost him at 6:06 am today. Thank you everyone for your prayers, your love for him,� tweeted Susmita who was alongside her father when he breathed his last at the hospital ICU.
Dev was admitted to the hospital on July 26 after he suffered a mild cardiac arrest at his residence. He had been under intensive care since July 28. Dr PC Sarma, who led the team of physicians treating Dev, said that infection spread in his body due to pneumonia leading to kidney failure. The former Union minister had earlier undergone a bypass surgery and was also a diabetic.
State Governor Banwarilal Purohit and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal have expressed their condolences over Dev�s death. In a tweet, Sonowal announced that there would be a local holiday in the three districts of the Barak Valley on Thursday. Dev will be accorded a State funeral. Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has also expressed his profound grief at the demise of the Congress veteran.
Former Karimganj MP Lalit Mohan Suklabaidya, former State minister Ajit Singh, Cachar Deputy Commissioner S Vishwanathan and other prominent personalities, leaders and Congress office-bearers from the Barak Valley and the neighbouring State of Tripura visited the hospital to pay their last respects to the departed leader.
According to sources at the district Congress office here, the body will be kept for the people to pay their tributes from 8.30 am onwards on Thursday. Thereafter, the funeral rally will be taken out, added the sources.
Congress sources stated that AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi is likely to attend the funeral of the former Congress minister. �Senior Congress leader Hemoprova Saikia has already arrived and other top party leaders, including APCC president Ripun Bora, will attend the funeral on Thursday. AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi is expected to join the final journey of the Congress stalwart,� the sources added.
Our Spl Correspondent from New Delhi adds: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the death of former Union minister and Congress leader Santosh Mohan Dev. In a tweet, Modi described Dev as a veteran politician who worked extensively for the welfare of the people. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also mourned the death of the senior Congress leader. In a political career spanning five decades, Dev held numerous crucial political assignments in the Congress party and in the Government including that of a Union Cabinet minister. His immense contribution to build the party in the North-East right from the grassroots level will always be remembered, Gandhi said.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, in his condolence message, said: �I am deeply saddened by the sad demise of Dev who was a personal friend of mine. I have happy memories of time spent with him and his passing away is a great personal loss for me.�