Congress gains lowest in fifteen years of Tarun Gogoi who served as the Chief Minister of Assam from 2001 to 2016, led the party to a record three consecutive electoral victories in Assam. He completed 15 consecutive years as Chief Minister of Assam on 18 May 2016. Here might be people wanted change or this is not the right time for Congress. After 15 years of Congress rule, Assam gets its first BJP government headed by Sarbananda Sonowal. The BJP coalition won a comfortable 86 seats in the 126-member Assembly. The BJP had alliances with smaller parties and ethnic groups like the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the Bodo People’s Front (BPF) and the Rabhas and the Tiwa community, which also paved the way for its stronghold in the state.
Sonowal was formerly the Union Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs and Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Skill Development in the Narendra Modi Government. He was elected to the 16th Lok Sabha from the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency in Assam as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He has previously served as the president for BJP Assam and is also a National Executive Member of the party. Sonowal was the president of the All Assam Students Union from 1992 to 1999. Until January 2011, he was a member of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) but later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party. He is popularly known as a firebrand and dynamic youth politician, also regarded as a Jatiya Nayak of Assam, a title given by the AASU, the oldest student body of the state. He was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Majuli and was sworn in as the 14th Chief Minister of Assam.
Eleven years ago, Sonowal had filed a petition challenging the controversial Illegal Migrants’ Determination by Tribunal (IMDT) Act, which was later scrapped by the Supreme Court. After winning the elections, Sonowal said Assam’s borders will be sealed in two years to check infiltration from Bangladesh.
His mentor PM Narendra Modi assured that the Centre will extend assistance to Assam and other north eastern states for their speedy development as a part of the Act East Policy. The fact that the Prime Minister landed there straight after finishing a trip to Iran is indicative of the value the BJP attaches to this occasion. 24 May, 2016 for the BJP perhaps is as significant as 26 May, 2014.
Assam’s development and progress is our top most priority and our BJP led NDA government in state will leave no stone unturned. Sonowal took oath on Tuesday evening as the Chief Minister of Assam. He has become the first BJP leader to hold the post. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Ministers of five other states, Union ministers and senior BJP leaders were present at the ceremony. Sarbananda Sonowal was administered the oath by Assam Governor PB Acharya.
Apart from PM Modi, the swearing-in ceremony was attended by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Outgoing Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also attended the swearing-in ceremony after receiving an invite from Sonowal. Perhaps, in general it is nice gesture of Congress leaders that they accepted the defeat in a very sporting way. They respect the public mandate. They take responsibility for the failure. Be it Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi, they open heartily welcome the winner of any other party and take the blame for losses. This time, even margdarshak LK Advani and other bigwigs of BJP attended the ceremony.
Two years ago, Narendra Modi had assumed office with an absolute majority. On Tuesday, the BJP opened new frontiers in the east or in the north-east by making its first ever government in Assam with two thirds majority with its allies. This was also an occasion for the BJP to declare — though not in so many words that the humiliating losses in Delhi and Bihar were a thing of past for it — that they had learnt some lessons from there, did the corrections required and moved on. In the recent elections, the party had improved its performance, opened its account in Kerala and also won a few seats in West Bengal. The BJP so far was a ‘national’ party only in letter, now it can claim that it is a national party also in spirit.
Himanta Biswas Sarma, who was once former chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s blue eyed boy, was touted to be the chief minister of the northeastern state after he joined BJP in 2015. Sarma fostered hope of becoming the chief minister under Congress leadership. However, soon after Tarun Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi joined the Congress, Sarma along with his nine supporters joined the BJP.
While Sarma’s chief ministerial ambitions were not hidden from the saffron party, the BJP made him the campaign committee convener in November. The saffron party after its Delhi debacle (remember Kiran Bedi) had refrained from declaring a CM candidate in Bihar. However, it was forced to declare its chief ministerial face in Assam after Sonowal reportedly threw a fit fearing that Sarma will spoil his chances.
The two BJP allies have also found representation in the cabinet. Let’s see as people had given 15 years to Congress Gogai’s government, will they give enough chance to Sonowal for proving his mettle?
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