Gopinath Bordoloi was a member of the Constituent Assembly elected from the Assam Province. He was a freedom fighter, parliamentarian and the first Chief Minister of Assam.
Bordoloi was a critical figure in Assam’s political history. In the years leading up to independence, he opposed the Cabinet Mission’s plan to group Assam with East Bengal.
Bordoloi played a role in Assam remaining with the Indian Union. He argued that, culturally, Assam was closer to India – not Pakistan. He opposed of Assam being part of Pakistan and said: “He [Jinnah] might as well expect the moon to come down to him, but he could never have Assam in his Pakistan.”
After the Partition, tensions emerged between Nehru and Bordoloi on the issue of refugee rehabilitation: Nehru wanted Assam to accommodate refugees from East Pakistan and allocate more land for their rehabilitation; Bordoloi was not keen to do this. Despite the Centre’s threat to reduce financial assistance to Assam, Bordoloi did not budge. He argued that Assam’s economy was primarily agriculture-based; he could not ignore the interests of local farmers. However, in the end, Bordoloi ensured that there was a peaceful and reasonable rehabilitation of refugees.
As Assam’s Chief Minister, he made numerous contributions to its growth. His industrial policies were highly influenced by Gandhian principles - focused on rural industrialization and on the growth of cottage and khadi industry. Bordoloi also created a strong education sector in Assam; He was responsible for establishing several educational institutions including Gauhati University.
Read more about him here.