Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam's next chief minister
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Himanta Biswa Sarma will be sworn-in as the chief minister of Assam at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati on May 10.
Governor Jagdish Mukhi invited him to be sworn-in after Sarma met him on May 9.
Sarma, who was elected leader of both the BJP and NDA Legislature Party earlier in the day, had called on the Governor at Raj Bhawan and submitted a list of elected legislators owing allegiance to the NDA.
Sarma will be administered the oath of office by the Governor on May 10 at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra at 12 pm though the names or the number of ministers to be sworn-in with him is yet to be announced.
He was accompanied to the Raj Bhawan by outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, BJP National General Secretary Arun Singh, National Vice-President and General Secretary Arun Singh, National Vice-President and party's Assam in-charge, Baijayant Jay Panda, state party chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass, AGP leaders Atul Bora and Keshab Mahanta and UPPL leader Pramode Boro.
The powerful North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor was elected as the legislature party leader, a week after the ruling alliance won the assembly elections with a clear majority for the second successive term, after his name was proposed by outgoing Chief Minister Sonowal.
This ended speculation over who would get the top job as both Sonowal and Sarma were seen as contenders.
The BJP leadership had called the duo to Delhi on May 8 to sort out that issue and its expected that Sonowal will be given an alternate leadership position possibly in the central government.
52-year-old Sarma in his address, after being elected unanimously, was effusive in his praise for Sonowal and described his tenure as "unblemished without a single charge of corruption or any other allegations".
The BJP leader who owed his early rise to two former chief ministers from Congress had to toil for many years with dogged determination to achieve his goal. A five-time MLA and a minister in all cabinets since 2001, Sarma's political acumen and the ability to get work done against all odds was not only noticed but rewarded by his mentors -- former Congress Chief Ministers Hiteswar Saikia and Tarun Gogoi -- with both giving him ample opportunities to rise.
After he fell out with Gogoi, he joined the BJP in August 2015. However despite steering the party to its maiden victory in Assam in 2016, he was made a minister but the chief ministers berth went to his rival Sonowal, forcing him to wait for the top job.
Sarma, later in a tweet thanking the Prime Minister, saying he "feels enormously blessed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's faith in me. This is the biggest day in my life, and I so fondly cherish your generous affection. I assure you we shall leave no stone unturned to carry forward your vision of taking Assam and North East to greater heights''.