After long speculation over who would lead the new government in Assam, the BJP legislature on Sunday announced that Himanta Biswa Sarma would replace Sarbananda Sonowal as the country’s next Prime Minister.
The decision marked the end of the 52-year-old man’s long-awaited visit, which is thought to be the catalyst for the BJP to take control of Assam in 2016 and the northeast.
Sarma has been involved in politics since her life as a student and has had a 20-year relationship with Congress. He had two prime ministers who were his advisers – Hiteswar Saikia and Tarun Gogoi – and served as a key minister in Gogoi’s cabinet.
However, in 2013-14, Sarma rebelled against Gogoi and tried to overthrow her as CM. The revolt took place when Gogoi introduced her son Gaurav – now a Member of Parliament Lok Sabha – to politics.
After a failed coup, Sarma joined the BJP in 2015 and became the main builder of the saffron party that rallied for the 2016 Parliamentary elections. He was also known as the NEDA (North East Democratic Alliance) coalition, led by the BJP, a coalition of regional groups in the Northeast. In the 2020 national elections, he played a key role in the BJP and its allies sweeping the seven northeastern provinces, the coalition won 17 of the 24 Lok Sabha constituencies in the region. Later that year, he helped the saffron regime regain its lost status after facing stiff opposition in Assam following the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Sarma has also held key positions in the outgoing Sonowal government, including finance, health and education and has been leading some of the major development programs introduced during this period. For example, the Orunodoi program, which aims to benefit households headed by women and people with special disabilities, provides monthly assistance of Rs 830 to women who are members of families discriminated against through the Direct Benefits Transfer process. The government says the program benefits about 22 lakh women.
After being hit by the epidemic, Sarma led Assam’s efforts and often made headlines by overseeing hospitals and detention centers and often placed unexpected checks at night.
Sarma is not aware of disputes. During the run-up to the election, he was criticized for his divisive remarks, in which he often targeted the Bengali Muslim community, in particular the perfume and MP Badruddin Ajmal, who leads the AIUDF, a group known as the AIUDF, a strong foundation among a few and affiliated with Congress.
At the time, he told The Indian Express, “In Assam, it is not possible to fight the election alone with a focus on development, because the issue of identity is real. Identity is very important in social and economic life.”
In April, the Electoral Commission barred Sarma from a 48-hour campaign for threatening to appoint Hagrama Mohilary, king of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) – another congressman – after a case against NIA.
Shortly after the EC released the ban, Sarma resumed her campaign activities. In his Jalukbari constituency, he said, “We are not doing public politics. We have worked equally well in the development of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Christians, everyone over the past five years. We have succeeded in finalizing a new image of unbelief in Assam.
“Assam does not want public policy. Assam wants our language protected. Assam does not oppose anyone, Assam wants our culture to be protected. Assam wants our society, the world and the cold to be protected. Assam wants our culture and traditions to be protected, ”said Sarma.
There have also been allegations of corruption against Sarma in the Saladha and Louis Berger scandals.
Sarma’s wife Riniki is a communications entrepreneur and the owner of the popular news channel News Live. Together, they have two children aged 19 and 17, and Sarma often posts pictures of her family on social media, as well as photos of her college days.
In a simple book, Sarma is often referred to as the ‘mother’ on social media and is the subject of many memes and jingles of the virus. He is the author of four books, including one published in February.