Sonowal or Himanta: Assam waits to see who its next chief minister will be

In the 126-member Assembly, the NDA has won 75 seats, Congress-led ‘Mahajot’ 50 while the remaining one went to jailed activist Akhil Gogoi.

Will Himanta Biswa Sarma finally become the CM or will Sarbananda Sonowal return for a second time? It has been two days since the Assembly election results were announced but speculations are still rife on who the next chief minister will be.

In the 126-member Assembly, the NDA has won 75 seats while the Congress-led ‘Mahajot’ has managed to get 50. Jailed activist Akhil Gogoi won the remaining seat.

On Tuesday morning, Sarma told the press in Guwahati, “BJP President JP Nadda is currently in Kolkata. So, I don’t think there will be any meeting [regarding this] today. I think the meeting will be held tomorrow or the day after.”

He added, “Since everything will be decided from Delhi, therefore, we have to wait. The Parliamentary board of the party will meet in Delhi. Here, someone might come to take the opinion of a few people.”

Speaking to The Indian Express, state BJP president Ranjeet Dass said that Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar will visit Guwahati on Wednesday or Thursday as an observer of BJP’s parliamentary board.

“We will maintain our internal democracy. The opinion of MPs and MLAs will be taken in this regard. We will follow whatever the party decides,” Dass said, while adding that the party high command will be the one to take a call on who the next chief minister will be.

The BJP has not announced Sonowal — who led the party to a victory in 2016 and had held his ground even as the state battled contentious issues like the preparation of the National Register of Citizens and the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act — as its CM face yet.

On the other hand, Sarma is arguably the most influential politician in the northeastern right now — the BJP’s key man and troubleshooter in the region. He is also the convenor of the North-East Democratic Alliance, a BJP led alliance of the regional parties in the northeast.

As health minister of Assam, Sarma’s handling of the Covid crisis has been applauded and as the state’s finance minister, he is credited for implementing some of the most important welfare schemes which helped the saffron party clinch victory in the Assembly polls.

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