Himanta Biswa Sarma: Man of the Match of the Assam elections

Express News Service
GUWAHATI: Five years ago, he came and not only contributed to building the prowess of the BJP in Assam but also hoisted the party’s flag across the Northeast. Now, on a day when the BJP has retained power in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma can pat himself once again. 

From being the face of the party in Assam through the pandemic as the state’s Health Minister to being instrumental in the selection of party candidates, Sarma took a huge gamble. On Sunday it paid off, and how!

The BJP’s victory has triggered speculations on the CM candidate. For the past few months in Assam, there have been murmurs that the BJP might promote Sarma as CM by giving ministerial responsibilities to current CM Sarbananda Sonowal in Delhi. But from Sonowal to Sarma to party chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass, all have left the matter to the wisdom of the Central leadership.

A master election strategist who is widely known for his political acumen, Sarma was instrumental in scripting the BJP’s victory in some other states of the Northeast in recent years.

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He has high ambitions and he did all that he could during the election campaign to retain the attention of the party’s central leadership. 

There was the grand show when he went to file his nomination papers with several thousand supporters. Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh and BJP’s two central leaders were also present. Sonowal’s filing of nomination, in contrast, was a low-key affair. Then there were the rallies and roadshows across Assam in the midst of thousands of his supporters.

But one reason why the BJP might continue with Sonowal is its defeat in West Bengal. The party is expected to give credit to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the victory in Assam. Sarma’s appointment might take away Modi’s role in the victory, for the PM had led the party’s Assam election campaign.