Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who regularly wears PPE kits to visit Covid patients and doctors across hospitals in the state, wore his protective suit once again on Sunday to visit someone very special in the Covid block of Guwahati Medical College and Hospital - Assam's former chief minister and Mr Sarma's political mentor Tarun Gogoi.
Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi had tested positive for coronavirus on August 26, and was subsequently admitted to the medical facility. The 85-year-old is among the 25 Assam MLAs who have tested positive for the coronavirus till now.
Once considered Mr Gogoi's blue-eyed boy, Mr Sarma joined the BJP in 2015 after a falling out with the Congress veteran. He played a key role in ousting the 15-year-old Tarun Gogoi government and helping the BJP win the Assam state assembly elections for the first time. The two have since been arch rivals, often taking pot shots at each other.
To enquire about health of former CM Sri @tarun_gogoi I visited GMCH, and using PPE kit personally went inside the unit where he is recuperating. Also met other Hon MLAs, who have been found #COVID19 +.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) August 30, 2020
Wished them well, and speedy recovery.#assamfightscovid
The tweet came on the eve of the Assam Legislative Assembly's four-day autumn session, which started today after rapid Covid testing was done for all employees, MLAs and attending journalists amid the COVID-19 alert.
So far, out of 126 MLAs at least 25 have tested positive, including Deputy Speaker Aminul Haque Lashkar and Minister Sum Ronghang.
In view of the pandemic, various restrictions have been imposed inside the Assembly. As many as 21 bills are expected to be tabled, government sources said.
The Opposition is likely to raise issues related to the BJP-led state government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the lockdown.
The assembly is being convened after more than five months because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed close to 300 lives and infected more than 1 lakh people in Assam. The per million testing in Assam is third highest in the country with 63,000 tests per million.
Mr Sarma has led Assam's Covid management from the front. In past five months, he has visited Covid care centers, hospitals and plasma donations camps almost round-the-clock in his PPE kit.