Himanta Biswa Sarma Set to Become Next Assam Chief Minister
The swearing in ceremony will be held on Monday,10 May.
Suspense over Assam’s new Chief Minister is finally over as Himanta Biswa Sarma was announced as the incumbent CM after the Bharatiya Janata Party held a high-level meeting on 9 May. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on Monday,10 May.
The saffron party returned to power in Assam for the second consecutive term on 2 May, winning 60 out of 126 seats, while alliance partners AGP won nine and UPPL six seats each.
Yet, they delayed naming the Chief Minister by a week, as there seemed to be two contenders for the post — Sarbananda Sonowal, who has been the first BJP chief minister in the state and Sarma the former health minister of the state.
It was only after several meetings with party leaders that Sarma was declared the CM formally.
Himanta Biswa Sarma was a student at the Government Law College in Guwahati, after which he went on to finish his PhD from Gauhati University. He was also a practising lawyer at Gauhati High Court between 1996 to 2001.
Sarma’s political career started quite early in his youth with the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1980. In 2001, he contested polls from Guwahati's Jalukbari constituency as a Congress candidate and made it his stronghold.
Although he held several portfolios in the Congress government and was even considered to be a strategist for the party, he joined the BJP after falling out with former Congress CM Tarun Gogoi.
From Congress to Being BJP’s Right-Hand Man in NE
But ever since joining the party, 52-year-old Sarma proved himself to be an astute political strategist for the BJP in the North-East. He was made the convener of the North East Development Alliance (NEDA), which was formed to help the BJP foray into the political terrain of the north east with the help of regional parties.
In Assam, Sarma managed a Lok Sabha victory for the party in 2019, despite the opposition on ground over CAA. In Arunachal Pradesh, he managed to topple the Congress in 2017, ushering in a BJP alliance in the state.
He also played a role in forging an alliance between the BJP, Naga People's Front, and the National Democratic Progressive Party in Nagaland.
Though, the BJP has not acknowledged it, there seems to be a power tussle in Assam between Sonowal and Sarma.
While Sonowal who had handled the sports ministry in the first term of the Modi-led NDA government between 2014 to 2016 enjoys a good rapport with the central leadership of the BJP, it is Sarma who is credited with helping the BJP form its government in the state.
On 5 March, when the BJP had announced its first list of 70 candidates, tickets were mostly given to Sarma loyalists or those recommended by him.
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