People of Assam have high expectations from Sarbananda Sonowal. His commitment to protect the Asomiya identity received unprecedented support from all walks of life. Now, he has to liberate the state from infiltrators and fulfill his commitments of development
NJ Thakuria, Guwahati
It was a spectacular show, where a young Janjati leader took the pledge to serve over 30 million people of Assam with all his sincerity and commitment. Braving the bright afternoon sunshine of the summer season, over two lakh euphoric well-wishers assembled at the Khanpara Ground to witness the historic moment, as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sarbananda Sonowal was sworn-in as State Chief Minister on May 24.
Unlike the previous Congress government at Dispur, the swearing-in ceremony of the BJP-led regime was organised at a city college playground, where many high profile dignitaries including Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, former deputy PM
Shri LK Advani and BJP president Shri Amit Shah were present. Assam Governor Shri PB Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to eight more cabinet ministers along with two ministers of State (independent charge) belonging to BJP, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). Assam had witnessed a similar swearing-in ceremony three decades back in the city’s Nehru Stadium, when PK Mahanta-led AGP came to power defeating the Congress for the first time. The AGP leaders, then fresh student activists, belonged to All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), in 1985 successfully concluded the historic Assam movement against the unabated Bangladeshi influx to the State.
The history repeats as the Congress turned a loser once again to the BJP along with its allies including AGP, BPF and two ethnic parties of Tiwa and Rabha people in the State Assembly polls held in April, where the BJP and its allies succeeded in winning an overwhelming majority. The BJP alone won 60 seats for bringing an end to the third-time Congress rule in the State.
A number of Union Ministers including Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Shri Suresh Prabhu, Shri Jitendra Singh, Shri Anant Kumar, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Shri VK Singh, Smt Nirmala Sitharaman and Shri Ram Vilas Paswan also graced the occasion. Over 30 Parliamentarians from different States also witnessed the ceremony.
More than 10 Chief Ministers from NDA ruled states including Smt Anandiben Patel (Gujarat), Shri Devendra Fadnavis (Maharashtra), Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan (Madhya Pradesh), Smt Vasundhara Raje (Rajasthan), Dr Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Shri Raghubar Das (Jharkhand), Shri Laxmikant Parsekar (Goa), Shri Chandrababu Naidu (Andhra Pradesh), Shri Parkash Singh Badal (Punjab), Shri Manohar Lal Khattar (Haryana), Shri Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim), Shri Kalikho Pul (Arunachal Pradesh), Shri TR Zeliang (Nagaland) and J&K Dy CM Shri Nirmal Singh.
With more to add, Assam’s outgoing Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, former Chief Minister PK Mahanta, Bodoland Territorial Council head and BPF supremo Hagrama Mohilary along with BJP’s Assam-in-charge Shri Mahendra Singh, national general secretary Shri Ram Madhav and a number of Satradhikars from different Satras (Vaishnavite monastery) were also present.
Shri Himanta Biswa Sarma, who left Congress to join the BJP last year and worked hard for making the BJP and its allies victorious with 86 combined seats in the 126 member State Legislative Assembly took oath as a cabinet minister after Sonowal. He was followed by BJP leader and a former State Minister in AGP ministry Chandra Mohan Patowary, former State BJP president Ranjit Dutta, party leader from Barak valley Parimal Suklabaidya, AGP president Atul Bora, senior party leader Keshab Mahanta, BPF leader and a former State Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, another party leader Rihan Daimary taking oath as cabinet ministers. BJP leaders Naba Kumar Doley and Pallab Lochan Das, who left the Congress to join BJP following the footsteps of Sarma, were administrated oath as MoS with independent charge.
Addressing the gathering, BJP president Amit Shah assured that Assam as well as the Northeast region would march on the path of development in the coming days.
Prime Minister Shri N arendra Modi began his speech in Assamese to express gratitude to the electorate and declared in pride that a son of the soil had taken the charge as Chief Minister of the state. He assured that the new government would cherish the dream of common people with all possible support from the Centre. The Prime Minister concluded his speech with the famous Assamese saying by Lakshminath Bezbaruah ‘Bajok Doba, Bajok Sankha, Bajok Mridong Khol, Asom Akou Unnati Pathat, Joy Aai Asom Bol' (let the drums beat, let the conch blow, let the mridong-khol roll, Assam again on the path of development, lets chant Joy Aai Asom) to mesmerise the audience.
Addressing the cheering crowd Shri Sonowal declared, ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christians… all will work for a peaceful and prosperous Assam’. He also mentioned about Ahom dynasty founder Chao-lung Sukapha, Ahom general Lachit Barphukan, 16th century saint-scholar-reformer Shrimanta Sankardev and his prime disciple Madhavadev, Sufi-saint Aajan Fakir, doyen of modern Assamese culture Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Bishnu Rabha, Bhupen Hazarika etc for their immense contribution to Assamese nationalism. He committed to make Assam free from unabated influx (from neighbouring Bangladesh), heinous corruption and deadly pollution.
With inputs from Alok Goswami