After a lot of suspense, senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, an Amit Shah loyalist, was on Sunday chosen as the new chief minister of Assam to succeed Sarbananda Sonowal.
The announcement was made by Union Agriculture Minister and also BJP’s election in-charge of Assam Narendra Singh Tomar, who was assigned as the party’s observer, after the BJP legislature party meeting which elected 52-year-old Sarma as its leader.
Sarma’s name was proposed by incumbent chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the meeting of the newly-elected MLAs.
The decision to make incumbent finance minister Sarma as chief minister was taken at hectic parleys involving BJP president JP Nadda and home minister Amit Shah besides Sarma and Sonowal in New Delhi on Saturday.
Sarma, who is known as the party’s election strategist in the Northeast, is considered to be close to Amit Shah, while Sonowal is said to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sarma, who represents the Jalukbari seat, jumped ship from Congress and joined the BJP in 2015.
He currently holds Finance, PWD, Health and Education portfolios.
Sarma was assigned the task of leading the BJP in the high-stake Assam Assembly poll as the party is struggling to retain its political base in the state following anti-CAA protests that rocked the state in 2019.
Earlier in the day, 59-year-old Sonowal had tendered his resignations to Assam Governor Jagadish Mukhi paving the way for the formation of a new government in the state.