Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's health condition has become "extremely critical" with Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma saying there was little doctors could do now.
"We need a lot of prayers from people for him," said Mr Sarma at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital where the 86-year-old veteran Congress leader has been on complete life support since Saturday. The three-time chief minister has been battling post-Covid complications for a month now.
In view of Mr Gogoi's deteriorating health, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has cancelled all his programmes and is flying back to Guwahati.
Flying back to Guwahati from Dibrugarh after cancelling my programmes midway to be on the side of respected Tarun Gogoi da & his family as the former CM's health deteriorates. He has always been a father figure to me. I join millions in praying for his recovery. @GauravGogoiAsm— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) November 23, 2020
Many state and national leaders across parties have visited his family in hospital and called Mr Gogoi's son, Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi, enquiring about his health.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi called me and inquired about his health condition... People are praying everywhere and I think that is giving him strength... My father has been in the hospital for almost three months now. The doctors have said that many young people don't have the kind of courage my father has shown," an emotional Gaurav Gogoi said.
He added that the hospital authority has permitted a sound system inside the ICU for playing peoples' prayers, and listening to songs by Bhupen Hazarika and Mrs Indira Gandhi's speeches as "that is also therapy".
Since Sunday night, Mr Gogoi's family, including his wife, son and daughter, have been at the hospital where a host of MPs, MLAs, former ministers and senior leaders of the Congress have also been camping.
Giving an update about Mr Gogoi's health, his former colleague and Assam Health Minister Mr Sarma said, "Today morning (Monday), his condition turned extremely critical. We are only getting some signs from his brain and a little eye movement. All other organs have stopped functioning."
On Saturday afternoon, Mr Gogoi had become "completely unconscious" after difficulty in breathing, and had suffered multiple organ dysfunction. He was put on life support machines, with doctors at the Gauhati hospital using a mix of medicines and dialysis to revive his organs.
Mr Gogoi's health condition had improved marginally on Sunday when he displayed some positive signs like "spontaneous hand and eye movement", and he had become "semi-conscious", but his urine output remained a cause of concern.
A team of nine doctors has been overseeing Mr Gogoi's health in consultation with experts from Delhi's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences who have ruled out the possibility of shifting him outside the state in this condition.
Tarun Gogoi had tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease on August 25 and was admitted to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital the next day. He had recovered from COVID-19 and was discharged from the hospital after two months.
But, he had to be re-admitted earlier this month, on November 2, because of post-Covid complications, and was put on non-invasive ventilation till his condition deteriorated on Saturday.
In the days before he was diagnosed with COVID-19, Gogoi was at the forefront of the Congress initiative to form a "Grand Alliance", comprising all opposition parties for the 2021 assembly polls.
(With inputs from PTI)