Himanta Biswa Sarma: Key BJP strategist behind NDA's victory in Assam

Photo: ANI

Himanta Biswa Sarma has risen in prominence in BJP since he joined the party in 2015 and has played a key role in the party's growing footprint in Assam as also other states of northeast.

He has played a stellar role in the success of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the assembly polls in Assam with the alliance returning to power overcoming the stiff challenge posed by the Congress-led alliance. He was a key campaigner of the party and strongly articulated its position on various issues at play in Assam which has a diverse population with sometimes competing interests. During the campaign, he took repeated digs at Congress for its alliance with AIUDF. Sarma won from Jalukbari, a seat he has won four times earlier.

Sarma, who was seen close to former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, felt sidelined in Congress as he had apparent chief ministerial ambitious, and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, which was looking for expansion in the northeast.

Sarma is credited with Congress victory in the 2011 assembly polls when the party won 79 of 126 seats. Later, he helped oust the Congress in the 2016 assembly elections and gave BJP its first victory in the northeastern state. The BJP forged alliances with Bodoland People's Front and Asom Gana Parishad. The alliance won 86 seats.

Sarma handled key portfolios like Finance, Health and Education in the Sarbananda Sonowal government. He was made the convener of the North East Development Alliance (NEDA). His work and strategy has contributed to BJP's growth in all the states of northeast.

Sarma had cut his teeth in the All Assam Students' Union and made a mark as he won Jalukbari assembly in 2001 defeating Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, one of his political mentors.

He has also been president of Badminton Association of India.

Born on February 1, 1969, he studied at Guwahati's Kamrup Academy School and Cotton College. He pursued law and practiced at Gauhati High Court. He was also general secretary of Cotton college Student's Union from 1991 to 1992.

Sarma won Jalukbari seat by a margin of 1,01,911 votes.

"It would be my privilege to represent the constituency for 5th consecutive term. My gratitude to the people of Jalukbari, PM Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda," he said in a tweet.

He also urged people to follow restraint and do not get together for celebrations in view of COVID-19. BJP's parliamentary board will take a decision on the next chief minister of Assam and the choice is likely to be between Sonowal and Sarma.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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