Former Rajya Sabha member Drupad Borgohain, the last of Assam’s communist stalwarts who helped expand the Left’s footprint in the State and set an example in spending MP fund, passed away on Wednesday morning. He was 78.Doctors at a private hospital in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh said Mr. Borgohain died at 6 am after battling severe health complications.Born in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar district, Mr. Borgohain headed the State Council of Communist Party of India (CPI). He became a party whole-timer in 1982 after resigning from his teaching job.“He belonged to a generation that expanded communism in Assam and his leadership had an impact on all constituents of the Left Front. In him, the front has lost a communicator who could explain things to the people in a straightforward, uncomplicated language,” Suprakash Talukdar of CPI (Marxist) said. Simplicity was Mr Borgohain’s asset too, as was his clean image, Mr Talukdar said.According to senior CPI leader Munin Mahanta, Mr Borgohain set an example in spending MP Local Area Development fund during his tenure in the Upper House from April 1998 to April 2004.“Unlike most other MPs in Assam, he spent his entire MPLAD money on community projects. He didn’t merely spend the fund; he set up local coordination committees and oversaw the implementation,” Mr Mahanta said.“He also was among the most vocal of MPs from Assam and elsewhere in the northeast. He would often raise issues such as Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and impact of extremism in the State,” Mr Mahanta added.Mr Borgohain had contested as the CPI candidate for the Nazira Assembly seat in the controversial election during the peak of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation in 1983. He finished second to Congress’s Hiteswar Saikia, the former Chief Minister.He bounced back in the 2006 Assembly election, defeating Mr Saikia’s wife and the then minister in Tarun Gogoi’s Congress government, to win the Nazira seat. Apart from Tanu Konwar of Asom Gana Parishad who won a by-poll in 1988, Mr Borgohain was the only one to wrest the pocket-borough of the Saikia family since 1967.The seat is currently held by Mr Sakia’s son Debabrata Saikia of the Congress.Mr Borgohain had also unsuccessfully contested the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat thrice since 2004.