Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s lead strategist in northeastern states and the party’s senior official, was elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party by newly-elected MLAs on Sunday. For the second time in a row, the saffron party has returned to power in Assam.
The 52-year-old leader was elected as the BJP legislature party’s leader at a meeting held at the Assam assembly campus in the presence of outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananada Sonowal and the party’s four central observers.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced Sarma’s name, saying that outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananada Sonowal suggested it as the leader of the BJP’s legislature faction, and others backed it.
In addition to Tomar, BJP National General Secretary Arun Singh, BJP General Secretary (Organisation) B.L. Santhosh, and party national Vice-President Baijayant Jay Panda were present as central observers at the meeting of newly elected legislators.
Sarma, who was elected from the Jalukbari assembly seat for the fifth time since 2001, was a key minister in the Sonowal administration. The Guwahati meeting came after three rounds of meetings at BJP president J.P. Nadda’s residence in Delhi, which included outgoing Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Sarma, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP general secretary B.L. Santhosh.
The meetings in Delhi lasted more than four hours.
Sonowal, a Sonowal-Kachari tribal from Assam, and Sarma, an Assamese Brahmin and convenor of the anti-Congress North East Democratic Alliance, led the BJP in the recent three-phase March-April assembly elections.
The BJP gained 60 seats in the 126-member parliament, while its coalition allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) received nine and new ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) received six.