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Could Himanta Biswa Sarma be Assam’s next Chief Minister?

BJP hasn’t officially confirmed anything, but says it will take a call leading to speculation that Sarbananda Sonowal could be on his way out

Sabrangindia 07 May 2021

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Sarbananda Sonowal might not be sworn in as the next Chief Minister of Assam. That spot might now go to Himanta Biswa Sarma, an influential minister who held portfolios like health and finance in the previous administration.

After the results were announced on May 2, Chief Ministers have been sworn in in other states. Mamata Banerjee was sworn in on May 5 in West Bengal, DMK chief MK Stalin was sworn in on May 7 in Tamil Nadu, and Kerala is all set to swear in Pinarayi Vijayan on May 20.

But no announcement has been made about the Chief Minister’s swearing in ceremony in Assam giving rise to speculation that Sarbananda Sonowal might not return for a second innings. In fact, as per a Times of India report a meeting on the subject of who the next Chief Minister should be was delayed due to post-poll violence in Bengal.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that multiple newly elected MLAs from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) have thrown their weight behind Sarma instead of Sonowal. These include four time AGP MLA Renupoma Rajkhowa and newly elected BJP MLA from Ratabari Bijoy Malakar.

Even Assam state BJP chief hinted at the possibility when he told media-persons on May 4, “It is clear that it will be one of them (Sonowal or Sarma). I appeal to all BJP legislators and workers to remain calm till a decision is reached.” BJP’s official line is that it “will take a call” on the matter, therefore opening the floodgates to speculation that it might not be Sonowal after all.

Himanta Biswa Sarma meanwhile is an influential minister and was temporarily barred from campaigning during the assembly elections by the Election Commission following threats to a Bodo leader. Himanta Biswa Sarma had allegedly threatened Hagrama Molihary. Sarma was quoted by the media as having allegedly said that Molihary, a Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) leader will go to jail if he engages in extremist activity, and that the case was being given to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On April 2, the ECI barred him from campaigning for 48 hours.

Earlier in February he had said made disparaging remarks about the Muslim community in the state and said that the BJP did not want the “Miya Muslim” vote. Hemant Biswa Sarma said that the party does not need votes from the Bengali origin Muslim community in Assam to win the elections, and accused them of “openly challenging Assamese culture, language and the composite Indian culture”, as reported by the Indian Express.

Sharma further virulently attacked the community and said, “They have started identifying themselves as Miyas. These so-called Miya people are very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distort Assamese culture and Assamese language. So, I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me.”

The Minister also said that his party will not give tickets to those who identify themselves as Miya Muslims.

Related:

Himanta Biswa Sarma barred from campaigning, cop brother transferred
Don’t need Miya Muslim vote: Himanta Biswa Sarma
BJP’s election manifesto in Assam promises “corrected” NRC, end of “Love Jihad”

Could Himanta Biswa Sarma be Assam’s next Chief Minister?

BJP hasn’t officially confirmed anything, but says it will take a call leading to speculation that Sarbananda Sonowal could be on his way out

Image Courtesy:hindustantimes.com

Sarbananda Sonowal might not be sworn in as the next Chief Minister of Assam. That spot might now go to Himanta Biswa Sarma, an influential minister who held portfolios like health and finance in the previous administration.

After the results were announced on May 2, Chief Ministers have been sworn in in other states. Mamata Banerjee was sworn in on May 5 in West Bengal, DMK chief MK Stalin was sworn in on May 7 in Tamil Nadu, and Kerala is all set to swear in Pinarayi Vijayan on May 20.

But no announcement has been made about the Chief Minister’s swearing in ceremony in Assam giving rise to speculation that Sarbananda Sonowal might not return for a second innings. In fact, as per a Times of India report a meeting on the subject of who the next Chief Minister should be was delayed due to post-poll violence in Bengal.

Meanwhile, The Telegraph reports that multiple newly elected MLAs from both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) have thrown their weight behind Sarma instead of Sonowal. These include four time AGP MLA Renupoma Rajkhowa and newly elected BJP MLA from Ratabari Bijoy Malakar.

Even Assam state BJP chief hinted at the possibility when he told media-persons on May 4, “It is clear that it will be one of them (Sonowal or Sarma). I appeal to all BJP legislators and workers to remain calm till a decision is reached.” BJP’s official line is that it “will take a call” on the matter, therefore opening the floodgates to speculation that it might not be Sonowal after all.

Himanta Biswa Sarma meanwhile is an influential minister and was temporarily barred from campaigning during the assembly elections by the Election Commission following threats to a Bodo leader. Himanta Biswa Sarma had allegedly threatened Hagrama Molihary. Sarma was quoted by the media as having allegedly said that Molihary, a Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) leader will go to jail if he engages in extremist activity, and that the case was being given to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). On April 2, the ECI barred him from campaigning for 48 hours.

Earlier in February he had said made disparaging remarks about the Muslim community in the state and said that the BJP did not want the “Miya Muslim” vote. Hemant Biswa Sarma said that the party does not need votes from the Bengali origin Muslim community in Assam to win the elections, and accused them of “openly challenging Assamese culture, language and the composite Indian culture”, as reported by the Indian Express.

Sharma further virulently attacked the community and said, “They have started identifying themselves as Miyas. These so-called Miya people are very communal and fundamental and they are involved in many activities to distort Assamese culture and Assamese language. So, I don’t want to be an MLA with their vote. I will not be able to sit in the Assembly if they voted for me.”

The Minister also said that his party will not give tickets to those who identify themselves as Miya Muslims.

Related:

Himanta Biswa Sarma barred from campaigning, cop brother transferred
Don’t need Miya Muslim vote: Himanta Biswa Sarma
BJP’s election manifesto in Assam promises “corrected” NRC, end of “Love Jihad”

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