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Assam’s political superstar: The of Himanta Biswa Sarma

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Himanta Biswa Sarma started his major political career as a legislator in 2001. He had earlier lost the 1996 state Assembly elections badly, his 1st ever, on a Congress price tag. Thenceforth he visited the then Prime Minister of India, Late PV Narasimha Rao who told him to forget the defeat and focus on the affairs of the people of his constituency. He followed the advice and won 5 years later.

Since then, he has never looked back and has on multiple occasions single-handedly won elections for his party. If the scam-tainted Congress party led by the Late Tarun Gogoi came to power in 2011, it had been made doable by the dint of Himanta Biswa Sarma’s astute politics.

Such a talismanic leader however was unheeded by the Congress party. Tarun Gogoi wanted his son Gaurav Gogoi, a novice in Assam politics back then and a disaster now, to be his successor and not a diligent seasoned candidate of Himanta’s caliber, who had proved his worth by handling some robust ministries since 2001. It was below his leadership that Assam’s health infrastructure received an enormous boost. Also, holding charge of the education ministry, he made public the appointment of teachers in a professional manner and introduced TET in Assam.

Prior to Assam’s 2016 elections, he moved to BJP, and through his rallies, he managed to convince the people of Assam to vote for a BJP led government. He didn’t even set his foot in his constituency and yet won resoundingly. He was given charge of important ministries such as Health and family welfare, Education, and PWD. For his efforts to bring BJP to power in a state that was considered a Congress stronghold. He was made the convener of the newly constituted NEDA. He won elections for BJP in Tripura (along with Sunil Deodhar & Biplab Deb), fashioned BJP alliance-led governments in Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland. If BJP came back to power with an absolute majority in Assam in 2021. It is due to his work ethic. He also steered Assam through Covid-19 quite successfully, and made Assam the first Indian state with an Oxygen surplus.

Quite naturally, Himanta became a favorite to succeed Sarbananda Sonowal as the new Chief Minister. And this is where we saw BJP’s professionalism. Sarbananda Sonowal humbly gave up the chief ministerial post as the party high command sought to put a more talented guy to power. This is something the Congress needs to learn if it looks to sustain itself, we saw how in Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot was crowned despite a growing feeling in party cadre that it was Sachin Pilot who was more worthy. If Congress continues to ignore young and talented politicians, it will continue losing them to the BJP. More recently, we saw Jyotiraditya Scindia switching sides, and I have a gut feeling that Milind Deora might just be another one in the line.  

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