How Sarma rose to become Assam CM

How Sarma rose to become Assam CM
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NEW DELHI, MAY 9 (AGENCIES): | Publish Date: 5/9/2021 1:20:28 PM IST

 It is not unusual for BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is set to be sworn in as Assam’s next chief minister, to call meetings past midnight and keep civil servants on their toes at ungodly hours. According to those close to Sarma, he catches up on sleep while travelling from one constituency to another, or, as the NDA’s point person for the Northeast, between different states in the region, ThePrint report stated.

And this works out well for the Assamese leader because, as an unrelenting election machine, he is known to travel extensively. This is precisely what made this “outsider” an indispensable warhorse for the BJP.

Sarma was Sunday appointed as the BJP’s chief ministerial pick for Assam, a week after assembly election results for the state were announced. He succeeds Sarbananda Sonowal, who served as the BJP’s first Chief Minister in the Northeast from 2016 to 2021. The decision was taken at a meeting of the BJP legislature party in Guwahati, a day after he and Sonowal were summoned to Delhi by the party brass to thrash out consensus on the CM issue.

In August 2015, when Sarma joined the BJP following differences with the Congress leadership in Assam, 10 MLAs followed him. Then chief minister Tarun Gogoi gave a two-worded response to his exit— “good riddance”.

But Gogoi’s response hasn’t aged well, with Sarma playing a crucial role in helping the BJP gain a strong footing not only in Assam but five other states in the Northeast — Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Meghalaya.

Sarma has never hidden his political ambitions. He quit the Congress after Tarun Gogoi projected his son Gaurav, now a parliamentarian, as the face of Assam’s Congress leadership. 

This, despite Sarma managing the 2011 election campaign for the party, and helping it win an unprecedented 79 seats in the 126-member assembly.

Sarma had also deftly managed the 2006 campaign for the Congress and it was this political astuteness that once made him one of Gogoi’s most trusted lieutenants.

ThePrint reached Sarma, 52, for a comment via text messages but he did not respond till the publishing of this report.

Opposition Congress, AIUDF greet Assam CM-elect Himanta Biswa Sarma

The opposition Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) on Sunday conveyed their greetings to the chief minister-designate of Assam Himanta Biswa Sarma and hoped that it will become one of the most developed states of the country under his tenure.

Ending seven days of speculations, Sarma on Sunday was unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party and the NDA Legislature Party, clearing the stage for him ton become the chief minister of the only non-Congress government returning to power in the state for the second consecutive term.

“Many congratulations to @himantabiswa on being elected as the next Chief Minister of Assam. Our only vision must be to work in tandem to make Assam one of the most developed states of India. Best wishes!” Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora tweeted. AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal also congratulated the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the NDA’s version in the region, on being elected as the BJP’s Legislative Party leader. “I hope Dr. Sharma with his experience and dedication will pull out Assam from the critical juncture it is at. I wish him a successful tenure (sic),” the Lok Sabha MP said in a Twitter post. The Congress had formed a ‘Grand Alliance’ with the AIUDF and several other parties to contest the assembly election.

Out of the 126 Assembly seats in Assam, the ruling alliance has secured 75 seats. The BJP has won 60 seats, while its alliance partners, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) got nine and six seats respectively.

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