If BJP’s ideological parent RSS gives green light, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the saffron party’s strongman in Assam, may in future fill in home minister’s Amit Shah’s place in the party.
“Himanta Biswa Sarma is everything that Amit Shah is — calculative, ruthless, astute in his understanding of politics, toxic on-demand troubleshooter, hardworking and with an insatiable appetite for power,” The Print writes.
Sarma’s popularity as a leader also stands unrivalled in his constituency as well as in Assam.
According to Print, Amit Shah, who as BJP president and with Narendra Modi turned the BJP into an election-winning machinery, will need a suitable successor.
If one looks at the BJP’s second-rung bench strength at the national level, there is no leader other than Sarma, who can ensure party’s unstoppable march to victory in elections.
While Sarma may have a lot going for him, the Assam BJP leader’s big drawback is that he isn’t an RSS product and does not have his roots in the Sangh, says the news website.
It is an unwritten norm that no leader without a root in RSS can hold a top post in the saffron party.
If there’s one thing the soft-spoken, but fiery, Himanta is known for, it is his ability to read the political situation correctly and ensure it works to the advantage of his camp.
Sarma, who had quite the Congress and joined the BJP in 2015, took little time to become the BJP’s most known, trusted and relied-upon face in Assam.
Sarma holds several key portfolios including finance, education and health in Assam Cabinet and he is now BJP’s chief strategist in Northeast.
The Modi-Shah duo is not known to trust easily, but Himanta ensured he became their go-to man in the region, says the portal.
Sarma played a key role in ensuring success of the BJP in Assam in 2016 Assembly polls.
Sarma was the man, under whose close watch, the BJP managed to gain control in Northeast state after state, ‘either by legitimately winning an election or unapologetically using underhand tactics to storm to power.’
Much like Shah, Sarma has no qualms using whatever it takes to come to power.
Like Shah, he understands the pulse of the voter and ensures even difficult territories like Tripura open up to the BJP.
Again, like Shah, he can spew communal venom on-demand and pretend to be statesman-like when he feels the need.
Sarma has the fire in the belly, the hunger for power and his own understanding of why it is important to rule — perhaps among the reasons why he couldn’t bother to stay on in a flailing, directionless and happy-to-sit-in-opposition Congress.
Again, reminiscent of both Modi-Shah’s primary qualities — the unabashed desire for power.
Sarbanada Sonowal maybe the chief minister of Assam, but it is the scheming and calculative Sarma who has emerged as the BJP’s face.
The difference between Himanta and Shah is that the latter has a clear ideological leaning, a commitment to Hindutva that runs in the BJP.
“Himanta, has only one ideology — power. The NRC-CAA bandwagon has become a convenient tool for Sarma to ride on to showcase his commitment towards the BJP.
“But does he really believe in the CAA-NRC project’s communal aspect over its ethnic feature? One will never quite know,” says the print article.
It is no secret that Sarma wanted to come out of Assam to play a larger national role in 2019. He also expressed his desire to contest Lok Sabha polls from Tezpur constituency but he was denied party ticket.
Modi and Amit Shah felt the time wasn’t right and preferred to keep him as their main man in the northeast.
Will Himanta be able to convince the BJP and the RSS then?