Sonowal or Sarma? Assam waits for the next chief minister

There’s no clarity yet on whether incumbent Sarbananda Sonowal will continue to head the government.
File photo: Assam incumbent chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (Subhendu Ghosh / Hindustan Times)
File photo: Assam incumbent chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (Subhendu Ghosh / Hindustan Times)
Published on May 04, 2021 08:26 PM IST
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Two days after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies returned to power for a second time, speculations continued to do the rounds on Tuesday across Assam on who will be the next chief minister of the state.

There’s no clarity yet on whether incumbent Sarbananda Sonowal will continue to head the government or senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who played a crucial role in the party’s poll performance, will be given the post.

“It is clear that either among the two, the incumbent CM or the finance minister (Sarma) would be the next CM. Whoever is given the responsibility will accept it. I appeal to all BJP MLAs and workers to remain calm till a decision is reached,” BJP state chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass told journalists on Tuesday.

Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP national general secretary Arun Singh, who were scheduled to visit Guwahati on Tuesday, are now expected on Wednesday to meet the newly elected legislators and get their views on government formation and the CM’s post.

“It is natural for the public and voters to speculate who will be the next CM. But the BJP is a disciplined party and the party’s parliamentary board will meet in Delhi in the next 2-3 days to take a call on this,” BJP MP from Silchar Rajdeep Roy said.

In the meantime, newly elected MLAs and leaders of alliance partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) are meeting both Sonowal and Sarma in Guwahati.

“If my name is being discussed and I am being questioned on it, what do you expect me to answer? Someone has to become the CM as the post won’t remain vacant. You should ask a third person about it. It is embarrassing to face such questions,” Sarma told the media on Tuesday.

Most BJP MLAs are saying that a decision on the CM’s post would be taken by the party high command with the consultation of the legislators. A senior BJP leader said on condition of anonymity that Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) could also have a say on who will take the top post.

“It is sad to see that in the fight for the CM’s chair, people of Assam are getting affected. It is clear that there is a difference within the BJP on this issue. We are worried the fight between the two for the post could hurt the state,” said newly elected Congress MLA from Mariani, Rupjyoti Kurmi.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is an assistant editor based in Guwahati. He covers all eight states of North-East and was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times .

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