Himanta Biswa Sarma, the disgruntled Congress leader who became BJP's go-to man in northeast
New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Himanta Biswa Sarma was sworn-in as the next chief minister of Assam on Monday, a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) following a series of meetings unanimously elected him as the party's legislature chief of the state. Sarma, who pipped his colleague Sarbananda Sonowal, took the oath of the office on Monday at the Raj Bhavan in presence of party chief JP Nadda.
Born to Kailash Nath Sarma and Mrinalinin Devi on February 1, 1969, Sarma's political career began in 2001 after he was elected to the 126-member legislative assembly of Assam from Jalukbari as a Congress candidate.
Sarma, who is married to Riniki Bhuyan, was re-elected from Jalukbari in 2006 following which he was made the cabinet minister for health in the Tarun Gogoi government. In 2011, he retained his of Jalukbari after which the party gave him the additional responsibility of education.
However, Sarma had quit the Tarun Gogoi government in Assam ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. In 2015, he even left Congress amid alleged differences with Rahul Gandhi and joined the BJP.
Sarma's decision to join the BJP in 2015 was a big boost for the saffron party which was trying to expand its wing in the northeast. The party immediately appointed Sarma as its convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Though Sarbananda Sonowal was BJP's chief ministerial face in the 2016 Assam polls, Sarma played a crucial role as he helped the saffron party form its first government in the state. Many thought that Sarma would likely become the chief minister in 2016 but the BJP decided against it as he was "new in the party".
Despite being ignored for the top post in Assam, Sarma became BJP's man to lead the mission of "Congress-mukt Bharat" in the northeast. Over the next few years, Sarma helped the BJP expand its wing in the northeast and form governments in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Manipur.
Apart from expanding the BJP in the northeast, Sarma also became the party's go-to man as he effectively handled anti-CAA and NRC protests. The 52-year-old was also praised for handling the COVID-19 crisis in the northeast.
Sarma also proved his mettle in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as he helped the BJP-led NDA double its parliamentary seat count in the crucial northeast. With BJP increasing its presence in the region, it almost became clear that Sarma would become the next chief minister of Assam if the saffron party retains power in the state.
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma