Too many allegations, lots of bitter words against the person. His name stays in the headlines regularly. Yet he is steadfast and unwavering. He is the most talked-about person in Assam. The political scenario of the state is incomplete without this person.
At a very young age, he was in the company of the most influential people in the student bodies, and ever since then, politics ran in his nerves.
That person is none other than the Health Minister of Assam- Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma stepped into active politics in the early part of 1996 after gaining years of experience under the prominent Congress leader Hiteswar Saikia and the rest is history.
Dr. Sarma tasted the first defeat of his active political career during the first term of Tarun Gogoi led Congress government against Bhrigu Kumar Phukan in Jalukbari constituency.
The bitterness of the first defeat in his political career shaped Dr. Sarma as a politically skilled individual. This was followed by a thorny path to establish himself as one of the most successful politicians in the political history of the state.
From 2006 onwards, whether it is the Congress or the BJP, Assam, or the politics of the North-East, Dr. Sarma has shined in every aspect. Be it the Lok Sabha elections, Rajya Sabha elections, Panchayat elections, or other elections in the North-East, he is relevant to all and is needed everywhere.
The political journey which took off from Cotton College has now reached a mature stage. The young guy who used to cycle for miles during election campaigns has now come to be recognized as one of the top-notch politicians in the country. Dr. Sarma has worked with ingenuity as the coordinator of the North-East for a party like BJP.
Interestingly, Dr. Sarma’s name was proposed as the Chief Minister of Assam in the 2011 elections. After the victory of the Congress in Assam, the then state in-charge Digvijay Singh had proposed his name for the post of Chief Minister. However, the then Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi immediately traveled to Delhi and met with Congress President Sonia Gandhi and convinced her against the proposal. After the incident, the Assam Pradesh Congress camp got highly apprehensive of Dr.Sarma’s discretion. In fact, Tarun Gogoi even admitted this in an interview. Moreover, the projection of Gaurav Gogoi in the politics of Assam also played a very significant role. This resulted in Congress leader Digvijay Singh suggesting Himanta Biswa Sharma to join the BJP, and this kick-started the idea of Dr. Sharma jumping ship towards BJP. Rajat Sethi in his book ‘The last battle of Saraighat’ wrote, “I quote ‘Ironically Digvijay Singh, the former in-charge of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, advised Sarma to leave the Congress and join the BJP. It was then that Sarma opened back-channel discussions with Ram Madhav’.
It was Independence Day, 2014 when Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma resigned from congress and also gave up all his portfolios. The incident jolted the Assam Pradesh Congress. This was followed by a year of silence.
August 29, 2015- The Stage was set. Once Tarun Gogoi’s most trusted lieutenant and former health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma formally joined the BJP after a huge roadshow that lasted for more than five hours with thousands of people cheering him, and a few thousand also following him as he drove in an open vehicle about 25 km from the airport to the state BJP office.
This was followed by the 2016 Assam Assembly elections. Dr. Sarma helped Assam BJP form the government in the state for the first time. The AGP and the BPF also formed an alliance with the BJP under the patronage of Dr. Sarma. After the assembly elections, the Lok Sabha elections and the panchayat elections were also a huge success under the guidance of this shrewd politician.
Its 2020, the entire world has come to a standstill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has affected the entire country as well as the state. The country has come to a halt economically as well. However, a small state like Assam is being able to survive this economic crisis under the supervision of such a prudent person. This can be greatly attributed due to Dr. Sarma’s efficient handling of two of the most important departments- health and finance.
The BJP was able to re-establish the fragmented BJP governments in Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh through the mediation of this prudent politician who was also associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in his childhood. The BJP high command lauded Dr. Sarma’s role in saving the BJP government from collapsing in Manipur by holding meetings with around 40 MLAs from Manipur in the 5-star Radisson Blue hotel in Guwahati. Moreover, he amazed the party by pursuing many politicians of other states to join the BJP.
In addition to that, the administrative prudence of this politician can be seen in the field of sports too. Dr. Sarma who is also the president of the Badminton Association of India played an important role in the election of Sourav Ganguly as the BCCI president. Apart from that, Himanta Biswa Sarma has also been appointed as the convener of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), set up to make the region Congress-free.
So now it is now up to the people of Assam to decide, “Does Himanta Biswa Sarma really deserves to be the Chief Minister of Assam? Is Dr. Sarma eligible to lead the state?”