New Delhi, March 17: Ailing Asom Gana Parishad leader Bhrigu Kumar Phukan was today put on life support after his condition deteriorated, forcing the party leadership back home to reluctantly replace him with another candidate for the April 3 election in Jalukbari constituency of Kamrup district.
Laid low by severe liver and lung infections, Phukan was shifted from Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on February 27 because his family thought he was not getting proper medical attention there.
An AIIMS doctor said Phukan, 50, had to be put on life support because of multiple organ failure. Lying motionless in bed with only his eyes moving, the AGP veteran cut a sorry figure. His gums were bleeding and the medical prognosis made the ordeal worse for his wife and elder sister, who were near him.
Phukan suffered a bout of jaundice last year, which, doctors said, contributed to a general decline of his health. Several MPs, colleagues and well-wishers visited him.
“His condition is critical. At this stage, we cannot do anything except pray for his recovery,” said Samujjal Bhattacharryya, adviser to the All Assam Students’ Union, on returning to Guwahati from New Delhi this afternoon.
Phukan was supposed to have contested the Jalukbari seat, which he won twice before Himanta Biswa Sarma defeated him in 2001. His replacement is Pushpa Deka.
A firebrand in his youth, Phukan had led the anti-foreigner movement along with Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. He went on to become home minister in the first AGP government, but fell out with Mahanta later.
Mahanta said in Nagaon that he was saddened by news of Phukan’s illness and wished his former colleague a quick recovery.