We are almost 10 days away from the most awaited result-day of the hard-fought Assam assembly polls. All the parties contested the elections without projecting a Chief Minister (CM) which has led to a lot of speculations regarding the next CM of the state.
Meanwhile, there have been widespread speculations in the Bharatiya Janata Party lobby regarding the CM candidate after an interview of Union Home Minister Amit Shah with a national news agency.
During the interview, Shah was confident that BJP will form the government in Assam with a full majority and rule the state for another term. Interestingly, while Shah was asked about the CM candidate, he did not have a clear answer and what caught the eyes of the viewers is the fact that even though the BJP already has Sarbananda Sonowal as its CM in Assam yet Shah did not project Sonowal as the CM for another term.
Amit Shah further went on to say that if elected back to power, the parliamentary board and MLAs of the party will decide on the CM face.
On being asked about Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as the CM candidate, the Home Minister replied that Sarma is one of the main leaders of the party and stated that the team of Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma has done a great job in the state. In the context of the question, Shah again mentioned that the CM will be selected by the parliamentary board.
Do Shah’s comments indicate a change in the BJP leadership of Assam?
Many experts are of the opinion that the comments by Shah indicate that it cannot be guaranteed that if BJP comes back to power in Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal will again be the Chief Minister for another term.
A senior political analyst of Assam spoke to Headline8 over the phone on the matter and he said, “ The call on the BJP’s CM candidate of Assam is a tricky one. No one knows about this as of now. Only Modi and Amit Shah will take the final call. According to me, both Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma have a 50-50 chance at becoming the CM. As Himanta mobilized more people during the campaigns and has become a strong force in Assam, if BJP wins with a complete majority then Himanta might have a higher chance at becoming the CM. But if BJP falls short of the majority mark by a few seats and the BPF performs well, then Hagrama Mohilary may support Sarbananda Sonowal as the Chief Minister.”
Headline8 also contacted Assam BJP spokesperson, Pabitra Margherita, for some comments on the matter. Margherita was unable to disclose much regarding the topic. Instead, he insisted that decisions like these are taken by the BJP high command and state leadership has no say in it.
The next CM if BJP forms government?
Thus, it can be seen from the comments made by Amit Shah and Assam BJP that the parliamentary board and the MLAs will decide the next BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate of Assam. So, it can be said that this might probably favour Himanta Biswa Sarma as most of the MLA candidates who contested the recently concluded polls elections from the BJP are Sarma’s loyalist. This gives an outside chance to Sarma on becoming the next CM of the state. However, Sarbananda Sonowal has a clean image in the state, and add to it he also stronghold in upper in Assam so the possibility of Sonowal being the CM for the second term cannot also be ruled out.