Himanta Biswa Sarma will succeed Sarbananda Sonowal as the next chief minister of Assam. On Sunday, Sarma was chosen as the leader of the BJP’s legislative party in the state and is scheduled to take oath as the CM at 12 pm on Monday.
The decision was announced by Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday after the newly elected legislative members of the assembly ratified it and unanimously elected Sarma as the leader.
Speaking about the change in guard, Sarma said, “Even the moon has spots. But the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government worked without any blemish for the last five years.” He added, “As the chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal was our leader. He will continue to lead us in the coming times and show us the path.”
Earlier in the day, Sonowal submitted his resignation to Governor Jagdish Mukhi. “With the blessings of the people, tendered my resignation as the Chief Minister of Assam to the Hon’ble Governor Shri @jagdishmukhi ji in Raj Bhavan, Guwahati,” Sonowal tweeted.
Most influential politician in Northeastern
Amid speculation over the next chief minister, both Sonowal and Sarma were summoned to the national capital late on Friday. On Saturday, BJP president JP Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santosh held separate meetings with them.
Himanta Biswa Sarma has been arguably the most influential politician in Northeastern India as of now and the BJP’s key man and troubleshooter in the region. He is the convenor of the NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance), a BJP led alliance of the regional parties in NE.
As the outgoing health minister of Assam, Sarma’s handling of the Covid crisis has been applauded and as the state’s finance minister he is credited for implementing some of the most important welfare schemes, which have yielded electorally.
In the 126-member Assembly, the NDA has won 75 seats and the Congress-led ‘Mahajot’, 50. Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi won the remaining seats.