Assam has decided; Now time for BJP to decide between Sonowal and Sarma
GUWAHATI: Assam has decided and it’s time for the winning party of BJP to decide. Immediately after the BJP led alliance comfortably secured the majority with 75 seats out of the total 126 seats of Assam Assembly, the prime question that has been making rounds was that who ho will be the chief minister.
Though in the 2016 Assam elections, the BJP had contested the elections with the chief ministerial face of Sarbananda Sonowal and pitched its punch line of ‘Sokolore Anando, Sarbananda’ (everyone’s happiness is Sarbananda), the saffron camp in the recently concluded poll did not project anyone as the chief ministerial candidate.
The strategy of the saffron camp led to confusion amongst the people of the state that who will be the chief minister if BJP comes to power. With his powerful presence and the successful management of COVID19 first wave, Himanta Biswa Sarma’s name in place of Sonowal has been making rounds and many believed that Sarma might be given the charge this time.
Pramod Boro, chief of United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), a new ally of the ruling BJP, said, “The mandate is out and the people of Assam has given us the chance to serve once again. Therefore, we need a dynamic leader as the chief minister.”
BJP’s old-time ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora said, “BJP’s high command will decide who will be the chief minister.”
Even Sonowal and Sarma ducked the questions when asked. Both of them said that the decision has to be taken by the party’s top leaders in Delhi.
However, the chief executive member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Tuliram Ronghang said, “The MLAs from the hill districts want Sarma to be the next chief minister. However, it’s just our personal choice. BJP’s top leaders will decide on that.”
Earlier, BJP’s central leaders also avoided the questions and said that it doesn’t necessarily name anyone for the post in states where it is already in power. However, the speculations continued.
The BJP has been maintaining that its parliamentary board would decide on who should be the chief minister. Party sources in Delhi said that the decision of choosing the next chief minister of the state may take a few more days as the top leadership has been occupied with COVID management.
Prior to the state polls, Sarma had expressed that he wanted to represent the state in the parliament but the party heads had asked him to wait for it.
What the BJP leadership has to also take into account was the fact that the elections have after all been won under Sonowal and they have to have some rational explanation to replace him. “There is no reason to replace him (Sonowal) since the government has performed well under his leadership in the last five years. Moreover, what suitable position the party will offer him if not the chief minister?”
Party sources added that Sonowal has been conferred the title of ‘jatiya nayak’ after he successfully fought a legal battle to get the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act scrapped. The law was perceived more as a facilitator than an impediment to infiltration from Bangladesh.