Himanta Biswa Sarma, the convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), has sworn in as the new chief minister of Assam along with the formation of the state’s new cabinet. Sarma has succeeded Sarbananda Sonowal as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam. His election at the Legislature Party meeting on Sunday put a full stop to weeks of speculation on the subject.
The oath-taking ceremony held at Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra, a cultural complex, in Guwahati.
Sarbananda Sonowal had proposed his name after Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave his approval for Mr Sarma’s elevation. It was seconded by the MLAs. Mr Sarma, later met Governor Jagdish Mukhi to stake a claim to form a government.
Later, Mr Sarma tweeted: “How enormously blessed I feel Hon PM Sri @narendramodi for your faith in me. This is the biggest day in my life, and I so fondly cherish your generous affection. I assure you we shall leave no stone unturned to carry forward your vision of taking Assam, & NE to greater heights.”
How enormously blessed I feel Hon PM Sri @narendramodi for your faith in me. This is the biggest day in my life, and I so fondly cherish your generous affection. I assure you we shall leave no stone unturned to carry forward your vision of taking Assam, & NE to greater heights. pic.twitter.com/fQPKjXjDzR— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) May 9, 2021
However, the new chief minister was showering praise on Sonowal on Sunday and described his tenure as one “unblemished without a single charge of corruption or any other allegation”.
“He practised politics of values. Sonowal is a leader with a foresight, someone who had the vision of uniting the people of ‘Barak-Brahmaputra-plains-hills’ while ensuring no section of the society was left behind. He was our leader and will continue to guide us,” Sarma was quoted as saying by media.
Sarma enjoys the support of a majority of BJP legislators besides its allies, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the tribal outfit, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).
The BJP won a second straight term in the recent assembly polls in the state. The party won 60 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six seats. In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had projected Mr Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate and won, forming its first government in the northeast.
Mr Sarma had quit the Congress government of Tarun Gogoi in 2015, and joined BJP and become BJP’s key strategist for the northeast. He also handled the health portfolio in the Sarbananda Sonowal government.