Guwahati: Senior Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is taking oath as the next chief minister of Assam on Monday as the dedicated saffron leader was unanimously elected as the leader of the State BJP legislature party in a meeting held at Dispur on Sunday. Formerly a Congress leader, Sarma will be the 15th chief minister of the north-eastern State.
Earlier, incumbent chief minister and saffron leader Sarbananda Sonowal met Assam Governor professor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhavan in the city during morning hours and tendered his resignation along with his council of ministers to pave the way for the constitution of a new government in Dispur. Governor Mukhi accepted the resignation and asked him to continue in office till the new government is formed.
Outgoing CM Sonowal not only accompanied Sarma to the legislature party meeting at the assembly complex but also proposed his name as the leader, which was seconded by State BJP president Ranjeet Kr Dass and representatives of BJP allies AGP and UPPL. Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP national general secretary Arun Singh, BJP vice-president Baijyant Jay Panda, AGP chief Atul Bora, UPPL chief Pramod Boro with a host of dignitaries were present.
Later the chief minister-designate Sarma along with Sonowal and other leaders of the legislature party met the Governor and submitted a list of legislators in support to him. As the BLP led alliance had a clear majority in the State legislative assembly, Sarma also staked claim to form the government. Governor Mukhi accepted his claim and allowed him to form the government.
The swearing-in ceremony will be held at Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra auditorium where the saffron party’s national president JP Nadda is expected to be present along some other senior leaders. Both Sonowal and Sarma were in New Delhi on Saturday as they were summoned by Nadda for finalising the name of next chief minister because chief ministerial suspense continued all these days.
Since the assembly election vote-counts on 2 May, the deadlock continued even after the BJP led alliance won 75 seats in the 126-memebr legislative assembly. Nadda, in presence of Union home minister Amit Shah and senior party leader BL Santosh, discussed with Sonowal and Sarma separately and later together. Both Sonowal and Sarma returned to Assam in the same chartered-fight from the national capital by the evening hours.
Born in Jorhat on 1st February 1969 to Kailash Nath Sarma and Mrinalinin Devi’s middle class family, Sarma started his schooling in Guwahati and completed matriculation from Kamrup Academy. He was admitted in prestigious Cotton College (now a university) in 1985 and later did MA (political science) from Gauhati University in 1993. Sarma also received LLB and PhD from GU. Since the days of schooling, he was a smart orator and led students’ units in various institutions including Cotton College. Sarma worked as an activist of All Assam Student’s Union when the historic movement against illegal migrants began in 1979. Soon he was picked up by veteran Congress leader Hiteswar Saikia to engage Sarma as the member secretary to the State level advisory committee for students and youth welfare in 1994.
Then Sarma joined the Congress as he was inspired by the then State chief minister Saikia and contested the legislative assembly elections in 1996 from Jalukbari seat, but lost to powerful Asom Gana Parishad leader Bhrigu Kumar Phukan. But he started wining the same constituency in 2001, 2006, 2011 assembly polls as a Congress nominees and 2016, 2021 elections as a BJP nominee.
He was included in Congress leader Tarun Gogoi’s cabinet and functioned as minister in various important departments. Sarma left the Congress in 2014 with growing political conflicts to Gogoi and next year he joined the BJP. Under Sarbannada Sonowal, he served the State ministries of finance, health, education, PWD etc successfully. His hard works during the first wave of corona attracted the attention of people across the State.