PM Modi congratulated Mr Sarma and said he was confident “this team will add momentum to the development journey of Assam”.
Himanta Biswa Sarma was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Assam, along with 13 members of his cabinet, by Governor Jagdish Mukhi this afternoon. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by BJP National President J P Nadda and many other leaders of the party as well as opposition parties.
Urkhao Gwra Brahma, a senior leader of BJP ally United People’s Party Liberal, also took oath in the simple ceremony – amid restrictions in place due to the pandemic – at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati. Sarbananda Sonowal, who himself had proposed Mr Sarma to succeed him in a legislator’s meeting yesterday, however has confined himself to the roles of a legislator.
Though Mr Sonowal remained out of the cabinet, at least seven ministers from the former chief minister’s 17-member cabinet have been retained. These include ally AGP’s Bokakhat legislator Atul Bora, Kaliabor legislator Keshab Mahanta, BJP’s Dhalai MLA Parimal Sulkabaidya, Dharmapur MLA Chandramohan Patowary, Tinsukia MLA Sanjay Kishan, Mahmara MLA Jogen Mohan and Jagiroad MLA Pijush Hazarika.
Assam BJP’s president Ranjit Dass, who had contested from Patacharkuchi constituency and won with a whopping margin of over 60 thousand votes, is among the six new leaders in the Himanta Sarma’s cabinet.
Shortly after the ceremony, Mr Sarma told the media that his newly-formed cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss ways to curb the Covid surge in the state. “Covid situation in Assam is alarming. We’ve seen that our daily cases have crossed almost 5,000. Tomorrow when we meet for the first time in the cabinet, we’ll discuss the situation from all perspectives and we’ll take all measures required to contain COVID outbreak,” he said.
“Until and unless Covid situation in Assam is controlled, situation in northeast will never come under control. We’ve our responsibility towards our citizens & entire northeast. So, Assam govt will do its best & tomorrow after cabinet meet I’ll elaborate our line of action,” he added.
Mr Sharma succeeds Sarbananda Sonowal as the 15th Chief Minister of the state.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr Sarma and said he was confident “this team will add momentum to the development journey of Assam”.
In another tweet, PM Modi thanked Mr Sonowal for his contribution towards Assam’s progress and strengthening the party in the state. “My valued colleague @sarbanandsonwal Ji was at the helm of a pro-people and pro-development administration over the last five years. His contribution towards Assam’s progress and strengthening the party in the state is immense,” PM tweeted.
Himanta Sarma‘s name was proposed by Mr Sonowal at a party meeting held in Guwahati yesterday after PM Modi gave his approval for his elevation. It was seconded by the MLAs. Mr Sarma, 52, later met Governor Jagdish Mukhi to stake claim to form government.
Earlier in the day, Mr Sonowal had submitted his resignation to the Governor.
The BJP won a second straight term in the recently concluded assembly polls in the state. The party won 60 seats in the 126-member Assam assembly while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six seats.
In the 2016 Assembly polls, the BJP had projected Mr Sonowal as its chief ministerial candidate and won, forming its first government in the northeast. This time, the party had maintained that it would decide who would be the next chief minister after the elections.