Guwahati: Himanta Biswa Sarma will be the new Chief Minister of Assam, the BJP announced.
Ever since the Assam election results were announced, there had been speculations that Sarma would replace Sarbananda Sonowal as the state’s chief minister. Following days of speculations and meetings both in Delhi and Guwahati, the same has been confirmed.
Sarma joined the BJP from Congress in 2015, months before the state assembly elections and is seen by many as the spearhead of the party. During the anti-CAA protests, it was Sarma who faced the media more than CM Sonowal. As the health minister of Assam, he was at the forefront of the state’s fight against the global pandemic in the first wave.
However, he caused a big controversy earlier in April when during peak election campaigning, he told a media report that there was no COVID in Assam. The 52-year-old is expected to take oath soon.
The ruling BJP-led NDA has retained its grip on Assam, bagging 74 of the 126 assembly constituencies that went to polls, while the opposition Congress-led grand alliance managed to clinch just 50 seats. The saffron party alone won 60 constituencies, the same as in 2016.
Himanta Biswa Sarma secured Jalukbari for the fifth consecutive term, beating Congress opponent Romen Chandra Borthakur by 1,01,911 votes.
The BJP’s decision to not name its chief ministerial candidate during the polls had fuelled speculation about the likely choice in the eventuality of the party retaining power.
While Sonowal, who hails from upper Assam, a BJP stronghold, is seen as a soft-spoken leader with a clean image, Sarma enjoys the image of an efficient administrator with sharp political instincts.