Sarbananda Sonowal is BJP’s CM candidate in poll-bound Assam

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 29, 2016 07:45 IST
File photo of Union minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sarbananda Sonowal (in centre holding a relay torch). Sonowal has been named by the BJP as its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming assembly polls in Assam. (Arvind Yadav / HT Photo)

Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal will be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate in Assam, the party declared on Thursday. This comes nearly two months after he was appointed president of Assam BJP in November.

“The (BJP) parliamentary board has decided that the Assam assembly elections will be contested under the leadership of Sarbananda Sonowal,” health minister JP Nadda said after a meeting of the BJP’s parliamentary board on Thursday.

This is the second time — first being Kiran Bedi’s projection in Delhi — after its 2014 victory that the BJP has decided to approach an assembly election with a face. It did not name any CM candidate in the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana, Jharkhand, Bihar and J&K, and depended on PM Narendra Modi to pull off victories.

The BJP leadership realised it needed to project a “face” to capitalise on the anti-incumbency of 15 years faced by CM Tarun Gogoi.

In 2014, the BJP won seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, polling about 37% votes. Its 2014 performance was close to the Congress’ 2011 assembly election figure of 39.4% vote share, which helped Gogoi win 78 out of 126 assembly seats.

In April and May, Assam will go to polls along with West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

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