Finally the wait is over; ‘People’s choice,’ Himanta Biswa Sarma elected BJP legislature party leader; all set to don CM’s crown
GUWAHATI: Finally, the suspense over the next chief minister of Assam is over.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) strong man, Himanta Biswa Sarma has been elected as the saffron party’s legislature party leader.
In the BJP legislature party meeting held at the Assam assembly here, Sarma was elected as the BJP legislature party leader.
Former state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal proposed the name of Sarma at the meeting, which was seconded by BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, besides other elected legislators of the party.
With this, Sarma is all set to don the crown of chief minister of Assam.
Both Sonowal and Sarma were summoned to New Delhi yesterday by the BJP central leadership to discuss formation of the BJP-led coalition government in Assam.
The duo held several rounds of meetings at BJP national president JP Nadda’s residence.
Union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national general secretary BL Santosh were also present in the meeting.
The BJP central leadership first held separate meetings with Sonowal and Sarma followed by a meeting with both the chief minister aspirants, together.
The BJP-led alliance made a landslide victory in the recently concluded Assam assembly elections, results of which were declared on May 2.
Though the BJP-led alliance got a clear mandate, selection of the Assam’s next chief minister and formation of the new government were delayed due to the political violence in West Bengal, as the BJP top leadership were busy in handling the situation there.
Earlier this week, Nadda told reporters in Kolkata that the party’s parliamentary board will take the final call on who will be the chief minister of Assam.
Like the 2016 Assam assembly elections, the BJP had not projected a chief ministerial candidate before this year’s state assembly elections.
The BJP-led alliance won a total of 75 seats in this year’s assembly elections.
While the saffron party won 60 seats, their allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) won nine and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) won six seats.
While Sonowal retained the Majuli constituency by a margin of 42,787 votes, Sarma won the Jalukbari constituency for the fifth consecutive time with a margin of 1,01,911 votes.
Himanta Biswa Sarma has been serving as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Jalukbari constituency from 2001 till 2015 from Indian National Congress (INC) and from May 2016 as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member.
A former member of the Congress, Sarma joined the saffron party on 23 August 2015.
He won the 2016 Assembly elections and was sworn in as cabinet minister on 24 May 2016.
The BJP leadership appointed him the convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) of which the main objective is an all-round development of the northeast and better coordination among the states and centre.
Sarma was born on 1 February 1969 in Jorhat district of Assam to Late Kailash Nath Sarma and Mrinalini Devi.
He passed his schooling from Kamrup Academy School, here, in 1985 and joined Cotton College, for further studies.
Sarma was the general secretary (GS) of the Cotton College Student’s Union from 1991 to 1992.
He did his graduation in 1990 and post graduation in 1992 in political science from the Cotton College.
Sarma did Bachelor of Laws (LL. B.) from Government Law College here and obtained Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree from Gauhati University.
He practiced law at Gauhati High Court from 1996 to 2001.
Sarma married Riniki Bhuyan on 7 June 2001, with whom he has a son- Nandil Biswa Sarma and a daughter-Sukanya Sarma.
He was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Jalukbari for the first time in 2001 when he defeated Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader Bhrigu Kumar Phukan and was re-elected in 2006 and then for the third consecutive term in 2011, with 78,000 vote margin.
Sarma held important portfolios (both state and cabinet) as minister of state for agriculture, planning and development, finance, health, education, and Assam accord implementation from 2002 to 2014.
He was made cabinet minister for health in 2006, and in 2011 he was also entrusted with the additional charge of education.
During his tenure, three medical colleges in Jorhat, Barpeta and Tezpur came up.
He also initiated work for five more medical colleges in Diphu, Nagaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur and Kokrajhar.
During his tenure more than 50,000 teachers were appointed for the first time through Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET) after he abolished the system of interviews.
Sarma joined the saffron party on 23 August 2015 at the residence of present union home minister and the then BJP national president Amit Shah at New Delhi.
He was appointed as the party’s convener of the election management committee for the upcoming assembly elections in the Assam.
Subsequently, he won the assembly elections and became a cabinet minister in the first BJP government in the northeast India.
After political differences with former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Sarma resigned from all portfolios on 21 July 2014.
He was the MLA of Jalukbari constituency until his resignation from assembly on 15 September 2015.
In May 2016, Sarma won Jalukbari constituency for the fourth consecutive term and was sworn in as cabinet minister on 24 May and has been allotted portfolios like finance, health and family welfare, education, public works department, planning and development, tourism, pension and public grievances.
As a sports administrator, Sarma was unanimously elected as president of Badminton Association of India on 23 April 2017.
He has been the president of the Assam Badminton Association.
He also became the president of the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) in June 2016 when his party man Pradip Buragohain became the secretary.
Sarma was also the longest-serving vice president of the association serving from 2002 to 2016.
Earlier on May 3, in response to a survey conducted by InsideNE, on who should be the next chief minister of Assam, on various social media platforms, majority of the voters who took the polls chose Sarma over Sarbananda Sonowal to lead the state.
More than half of Assam wanted Sarma to be the next chief minister of the state.
In our Instagram survey, while 68 per cent chose Sarma, 32 per cent opted for Sonowal as the next chief minister of Assam.
In our Facebook survey, 58 per cent of our followers preferred Sarma as the next chief minister while 42 per cent voted for Sonowal.
Moreover, InsideNE had published an article way back on May 5 with the headline “Himanta Biswa Sarma all set to become next Assam chief minister.”
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