Guwahati: Himanta Biswa Sarma will succeed Sarbananda Sonowal as the Chief Minister of Assam. At the legislature party meeting held in Guwahati today, Mr Sonowal had proposed the name of Mr Sarma after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his approval for Mr Sarma’s elevation, and it was seconded by the MLAs.
Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar and party General Secretary Arun Singh were present as central observers at the BJP Legislature Party meet. Baijayant Panda, BJP’s Assam in-charge was also present on the occasion.
The BJP won a second straight term in the recently concluded assembly polls in the state. The party won 60 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six seats.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had projected Mr Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate and won, forming its first government in the northeast. This time, the party had maintained that it would decide who would be the next chief minister after the elections.
Soon after the meeting, Mr Sarna tweeted:
I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy ~ Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore
— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 9, 2021
Mr Sarma, who switched to the BJP from the Congress six years ago, is credited as the architect who brought the northeast states within the party’s grasp. He also handled the health portfolio in the Sarbananda Sonowal government.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had quit the Congress government of Tarun Gogoi in 2015. He then promptly joined the BJP, becoming its key strategist for the northeast.
On Saturday, Sarma and Sonowal, both contenders for the top post, were in New Delhi to meet the BJP central leadership. Sarma visited Nadda’s residence, where he also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP general secretary (Organisation) B L Santhosh. A series of meetings, lasting for more than four hours, were held with Nadda and Shah with the duo, following which Sarma said that the BJP’s legislature party is likely to meet on Sunday and all questions related to the next government will be answered there. Both Sonowal and Sarma had gone together to Delhi on Saturday morning by a chartered flight and returned at night along with the central observers.
Sonowal, who belongs to Assam’s indigenous Sonowal-Kachari tribals, and Sarma, the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, were both contenders for the top post of the Assam government. The BJP had not announced a chief ministerial candidate before the Assembly polls in Assam and speculations are rife for the last one week on who would be the next chief minister of the state.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had projected Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate and won, forming the first saffron party government in the northeast. This time, the party has been maintaining that it would decide who would be the next chief minister of Assam after the elections.
The ruling BJP alliance is the first non-Congress government in the state to win the elections for the second consecutive term.