Dispur (Assam) : “Where there is a will, there is a way”- Assam’s current Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has rightly followed this quote through his eight year long journey dedicated to politics. Since the year 2015, his connection with Tarun Gogoi started deteriorating. When he was a member of Congress Party back in the day, he almost started a coup against Gogoi following his passion for the position of CM. However, his quest was unsuccessful. One of the reasons behind the fallout of this relation could also be Tarun Gogoi wished to establish his son Gaurav Gogoi as his political successor. Himanta joined hands with BJP in 2015, just six months prior to the assembly elections of 2016. He declared an open-war against Congress party from then on. He succeeded to establish him as a man of word by sweeping the both polls of 2016 assembly elections as well as 2019 general elections in favour of BJP.
Though BJP did not admit his contribution in strengthening the party and a political tussle began between former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal that continued till the assembly election 2021. Himanta being much hungry for political power was in hurry to topple down Sonowal politically. It is the internal clash between the two leaders that this year BJP was compelled to announce no specific candidate for the post of CM unlike previous elections, leaving the field open for both Himanta B. Sarma and Sarbananda Sonowal. BJP leadership deliberately tried give message to the supporters of both leaders in Aasam.
Massive support from RSS :
Himanta was able to gain massive support from RSS. Himanta’s meeting with RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat in Nagpur fueled the news of his allegiance; he stated that his association with the RSS in general and Mohan Bhagwat in particular dates back to many years and claimed that Bhagwat had visited his house before the state Assembly election. BJP gave tickets mostly to Himanta ‘loyalists’ and many aspirants backed him up. New people who were preferred by Sonowal were not given due importance. Political analyst says thaat out of the sixty winning candidates, forty are Himanta’s supporters. Everyone including the Central leadership was aware of the fury to unleash over Assam and Northeast if he had been denied the position of Chief ministership this time.
Sonowal is very inclusive in his outlook :
Sonowal was given the title of ‘jatio nayak’ (community leader) after his successful petition in the Supreme Court against the IMDT Act resulted in the repeal of the controversial law considered to be biased in favour of the illegal immigrants. He belongs to a tribal background and BJP had also considered that fact while elevating him to the chief ministerial post which can’t be undermined. Sonowal is very inclusive in his outlook and strayed away from making any derogatory communal remarks.
Himanta explicitly supported the agenda of RSS/BJP :
On the other hand during the introduction of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, Himanta explicitly supported the agenda of rehabilitating Bangladeshi Hindu immigrants but Sonowal preferred to remain neutral on such a pressing issue to continue being in the good books of Assamese nationalists (Jatiyotabadi factions). RSS-BJP has never supported the Accord simply because it doesn’t differentiate between a Hindu and a Muslim Bangladeshi. Himanta was catering to that sentiment. Sonowal’s silence on the very cause which brought him such popularity and respect back in the day bittered his image further.
Sonowal’s Communication gap gave a good space to Himanta :
It is said that Sonowal’s indecisiveness, in confidence failed to fulfill and live up to the expectations of not only the party leadership but large sections of the populace in Assam too. Sonowal remained inaccessible to journalists and media up to an extent that had never been witnessed before and steered him far from connecting with the common people. His communication gap with people and media gave a good space to Himanta His utterly incompetent public outreach team too silently watched the proceedings, while Sarma thrived in creating for himself a positive public image as a hardworking minister.
Popularity remains unchanged irrespective of the party :
Now, shedding the spotlight to some of the reasons behind his win- he is an extensively influential and popular leader, he is a larger than life politician and fondly referred to as ‘mama’ (maternal uncle) by Assamese people. His popularity remains unchanged irrespective of the party he belongs to. During the pandemic situation, Himanta’s capabilities and meticulous thinking totally outshined as he single handedly managed everything while in other states, the CMs carried out the task. In Assam, Himanta emerged as the flagbearer of handling the covid crisis.
More in sync with the BJP’s Hindutva ideology
Himanta is also more in sync with the BJP’s Hindutva ideology though he entered BJP four years after Sonowal did. Sarma is known to make many communal statements against Muslims. He has openly approached RSS in the last five years and even at times wore saffron dhoti to RSS backed rituals and publicising them on social media. It did not matter to the BJP to establish a person from Brahmin background on the position of chief minister unlike Congress. Sarma is likely to continue appeasing the RSS and BJP by inclining towards their outlook on communal differences and maintaining his intimidating political position both nationally as well as regionally. His expertise in plotting coups and framing alliances were established beyond doubt when the BJP gained a foothold in Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland as well Tripura .
People re-elected us : Sonowal
Sonowal stated, “We managed to ensure peace, progress and security because of which the people re-elected us. I have the faith Himanta will serve people honestly and fight corruption”. He extended Himata’s name at the BJP legislature meeting putting an end to a week long speculation over the question of succession. Himanta B. Sarma took the CM’s chair in Dispur and Sarbananda Sonowal will most probably be rehabilitated in Delhi as it would not be possible for both of them to co-exist in Assam.
Himanta’s journey towards chief ministership was a phenomenal one. People of Dima Hasao, when interviewed about his win were very hopeful about his future endeavours in working for the betterment of the district with cooperation from respective MLAs. The media often highlights his role in downplaying Sarbananda Sonowal.