Himanta Biswa Sarma takes oath as Assam’s 15th CM; 13 ministers also sworn in
Himanta Biswa Sarma took charge as the 15th chief minister of Assam on Monday, a day after he was selected unanimously as the leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislature party.
The 52-year-old was administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor Jagdish Mukhi at a brief function at the auditorium of Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra in Guwahati.
Sarma, who wore traditional Assamese attire, took oath in Assamese. He was accompanied to the event by his mother Mrinalini Devi, wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma and son and daughter.
Thirteen other newly elected MLAs of BJP and alliance partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) were also sworn in at the ceremony, which set the ball rolling for the second successive BJP-led government in the state.
The new ministers are state BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Parimal Suklabaidya, Ronoj Pegu, Sanjay Kishan, Jogen Mohan, Ajanta Neog, Ashok Singhal, Pijush Hazarika, Bimal Bora (all from BJP) Atul Bora and Keshav Mahanta (from AGP) and Urkhao Gwra Brahma (from UPPL).
While Atul Bora, Parimal Suklabaidya, Chandra Mohan Patowary, Keshav Mahanta, Sanjay Kishan, Jogen Mohan and Pijush Hazarika were part of the Sarbananda Sonowal Cabinet as well, the others are new faces.
Allocation of portfolios is expected to take place within the next few days with Sarma retaining key responsibilities. The Cabinet is likely to be expanding soon to accommodate four other ministers.
The new Cabinet saw the inclusion of Ajanta Neog, a former Congress minister who had joined BJP just prior to the assembly polls while former BJP state president Siddhartha Bhattacharya, who was a Cabinet minister in the previous government, has been kept out.
The event was attended by a host of dignitaries, including BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda and minister for development of north eastern region (DONER) Jitendra Singh. Sarma’s predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal was also present.
Chief ministers of Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya, Neiphiu Rio, N Biren Singh, Biplab Kumar Deb and Conrad Sangma respectively, were also present at the function.
Assam assembly has 126 seats. While BJP got 60 this time, same as its figure in 2016, its allies AGP and UPPL won 9 and 6 seats respectively, taking the alliance’s total to 75 seats.