Sonowal’s Image, Sarma’s Cunning Leave BJP with a Tough Choice Over CM in Assam | India News
(From left to right) Sarbanand Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma
GUWAHATI / NEW DELHI: Internal party consultations on the decision of the next Chief Minister of Assam, with Sarbanand holder Sonowal and Minister of Health Himanta Biswa Cable which is in dispute, is expected to be finalized soon and the party’s parliamentary board is likely to meet virtually to endorse the name.
Although Sonowal has been chief minister for the past five years and BJP has returned to office, his name was not announced, while Sarma has made it clear that he expects his claim to be considered by the BJP’s top brass.
Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will arrive in Guwahati on Tuesday as an observer for the BJP parliamentary board amid a discussion about the post of deputy minister being created for the first time in the state.
The choice is not easy as Sonowal is a popular leader with an uncontroversial style. Its roots in AASU politics makes him an organic figure to which Assamese sentiment can relate. Sarma has proven himself as a canny political manager who has helped expand the BJP’s presence in the Northeast. It is also a successful election campaign
Unlike in 2016, BJP did not name CM’s face in the state this time, which has fueled a debate about who will hold the highest office. Sarma has responded to inquiries saying that it was the parliamentary board that had to decide. He has even made it clear that if Modi-Shah decides on a name other than himself, he will not regret it.
Sonowal thanked all sectors of the state’s population on Monday for giving a clear mandate to the BJP-led alliance.
While the BJP has yet to make a decision, a section of top leaders is said to be wary of changing leadership given Sonowal’s success in governance and welfare schemes.
Sarma’s chances are not ruled out given that he not only campaigned rigorously and played a key role in highlighting the head of AIUDF. Badruddin Ajmal as a patron of illegals but it has also been the engine of the Northeast Democratic Alliance, which was formed by the BJP to consolidate itself in the region.