Sarbananda Sonowal, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader who ousted a titan like Congressman Tarun Gogoi to become the 14th Chief Minister of the north eastern state of Assam, boasts of a political career that spans over almost two decades.
The incumbent CM of Assam, who is representing the Majuli assembly constituency in the upcoming Assam elections, had begun his political journey as a member of the All Assam Students Union (AASU) – the oldest student body of the state.
The 59-year-old leader gradually rose the ranks to be elected the president of AASU for two consecutive terms, from 1992 to 1999. In 1994, he also became the chairman of the North East Students Organisation (NESO), an umbrella student organisation covering the seven sisters, and held the position till 2004.
In 2001, he fought elections and won from Assam’s Moran Constituency. Sonowal served the people of Assam as an MLA till 2004, following which he was elected a Member of Parliament from the Dibrugarh Constituency.
In 2011, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal was appointed the National Executive Member of the Bharatiya Janata Party and then the State Spokesperson and General Secretary for the Assam unit of the saffron party.
Within a year, he went on to become the president of BJP’s Assam Pradesh Committee and was handed the portfolio of the Minister of State (Independent Charges) for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Youth Affairs and Sports in 2014.
A law graduate, the Assam CM enjoys much popularity among the youth, which had also earned him the moniker ‘Jatiya Nayak of Assam’.
Sonowal made history when he became the Chief Minister of Assam on May 19, 2016, by becoming the first BJP leader to rise to the top in the state and the second tribal (Sonowal-Kachari tribe) to be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Assam. He has been pitted against Assam Congress leader Rajib Lochan Pegu this time.
Notably, the Majuli constituency, from where Sonowal has been fielded, is a reserved constituency, and will go to polls in the first phase of Assam Assembly polls 2021 on March 27.
Sarbananda Sonowal has a net worth is Rs 1.45 crore and enjoys a clean image. He is credited with challenging the contentious Illegal Migrants’ Determination by Tribunal (IMDT) Act in the Supreme Court. The Act, which was the main hindrance vis-à-vis deportation of Bangladeshi immigrants, was eventually scrapped.