Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam's next chief minister
Himanta Biswa Sarma will be sworn in as Assam’s 15th chief minister along with 13 cabinet ministers on May 10.
BJP national president JP Nadda, Union minister for development of northeastern region Dr Jitendra Singh, chief ministers of neighboring states such as Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Nagaland and Meghalaya are expected to attend the oath-taking ceremony to be held around noon at Guwahati's Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.
Sarma’s cabinet will have ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partners, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL). Many leaders who were ministers in the cabinet led by outgoing chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, will also be included in the new cabinet, local media reports said.
Among the names of new ministers likely to be inducted in the cabinet, according to the local media, include AGP president and Bokaghat MLA Atul Bora, Assam BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass and UPPL’s founder president Urkhao Gwra Brahma.
READ: Why BJP picked Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam CM and what happens to Sarbananda Sonowal now
Parimal Suklabaidya, Keshab Mahanta, Chandramohan Patowary, Sanjay Kishan, Pijush Hazarika and Jogen Mohan, who were ministers during Sonowal's tenure as the CM, will also be ministers in the Sarma government. Former Congress minister Ajanta Neog, who won the Golaghat seat as a BJP candidate, may also make it to the list of new ministers. Among others, Dhekiajuli MLA Ashok Singhal and Tingkhang MLA Bimal Bora will also get cabinet berths, according to the local media reports.
Sources said that Sarma had extended invitations for the swearing-in ceremony to opposition leaders including Congress' Ripun Bora, AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal and BPF's Hagrama Mohilary.
Ending week-long suspense, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on May 9 announced Himanta Biswa Sarma as Assam’s next chief minister. The BJP top brass had to make a tough choice between Sarma, considered a ‘master strategist’, and Sarbananda Sonowal who served as the chief minister in the party's first-ever term in the state.
Earlier on May 9, BJP’s state legislative party supported Sarma as the next CM.
Sarma, 52, seen as the architect of the BJP’s two consecutive victories in Assam, had been a strong contender for the chief minister's post.
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) bagged 75 seats while the ‘grand alliance’ led by the Congress bagged 50 in the elections to the 126-member Assam Legislative Assembly. In 2016, the NDA won 86 seats while the Congress and All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) secured 24 and 14 seats, respectively.
Also, read: Himanta Biswa Sarma to be Assam’s next chief minister
A former Congress heavyweight, Sarma had quit his ministerial post after party leader Rahul Gandhi reportedly refused to make him the chief minister despite his claim of support from 52 legislators in July 2014.
Snubbed by the party high command, Sarma joined the BJP a year later.