Ahead of the BJP legislative party meeting in Assam on Sunday, sources report that incumbent CM Sarbananda Sonowal will propose the name of Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma as the next Chief Minister. Sonowal, who has already submitted his resignation to Governor Jagdish Mukhi, will be backed by BJP State president Ranjeet Kumar Das. Top BJP leaders including BL Santosh, Baijayant Jay Panda, and Ajay Jamwal are currently at Assam Legislative Assembly Library Conference Hall in Guwahati to attend the MLA meet.
মোৰ শ্ৰদ্ধাৰ অসমৰ ৰাইজ আৰু স্বৰ্গীয় আই-পিতাইৰ আশীৰ্বাদ শিৰত লৈ মাননীয় ৰাজ্যপাল শ্ৰী জগদীশ মুখী ডাঙৰীয়াৰ হাতত অসমৰ মুখ্যমন্ত্ৰী হিচাপে মোৰ পদত্যাগ পত্ৰ দাখিল কৰিলোঁ। @jagdishmukhi pic.twitter.com/8js2EuYFjb— Sarbananda Sonowal (@sarbanandsonwal) May 9, 2021
On Saturday, Sarma and Sonowal met BJP national president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi to discuss the leadership issue of the next government. Though both leaders from Assam reached Delhi on Saturday morning, Sarma reached Nadda's residence to meet him and BJP general secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh. They were also joined by Amit Shah. Later that day, Sonowal also reached Nadda's residence to meet the BJP's top brass. The BJP leadership is facing a tough choice over the appointment of the new Chief Minister of Assam – the only state where the party registered a convincing victory in the recently concluded assembly elections.
Sonowal, who belongs to Assam's indigenous Sonowal-Kachari tribals, and Sarma, the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, both are contenders for the top post of the Assam government. The incumbent Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, whose clean image and good governance over the past term have helped the party regain power in the state, but has been overshadowed by Himanta Biswa Sarma. The CM - a former AASU leader has been the Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports in the first Modi govt.
On the other side is Himanta Biswa Sarma, the ex-Congress leader who had powered the BJP rule in Assam and helped the party make inroads in the Northeast region, in the 2016 elections. An influential leader in the NE, Sarma had left the Congress in 2015 to join the BJP. He was not considered for the post of Chief Minister last time as he was too new to the party. However, over time, Sarma has outdone himself, tightening BJP’s grip over neighbouring states of Arunachal, Manipur, and Tripura in a very short period.
The Assembly elections campaign season in the state of Assam has been marked by speculation of Sonowal possibly getting a role in the Union government and Himanta Biswa taking his place as the Chief Minister, as the saffron party did not name a CM candidate outright. In the results announced for the 126-member Assam assembly last Sunday, the BJP won 60 seats while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UP. Congress failed miserably, winning 29 seats while its Mahajot alliance partners won - AIUDF (16), BPF (4) and CPM (1).