Sarbananda Sonowal, elected as the chief ministerial candidate by BJP for the upcoming Assam elections which are going to be announced in March 2016. He is also currently the sports minister in Narendra Modi’s council.
The announcement came into existence after a meeting of its top decision making body, the parliamentary board which was attended by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, BJP president.
BJP strategy’s change is a direct fallout of its losses in last year’s assembly elections in Bihar and Delhi. In Bihar,no one else was projected as the chief ministerial candidate by the party. Instead, it went with Modi as its face – which was used by the rival Grand Alliance to turn the election into a Bihari versus Bahari (outsider) battle.
In Delhi, party hesitated initially and finally fielded newly inducted Kiran Bedi as its chief ministerial candidate instead of old party hand Dr Harshavardhan.
After his nomination, Sonowal thanked Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, BJP president through his Facebook page.
Currently, Sonowal represents Assam’s Lakhimpur constituency in the Lok Sabha . With 14 seats in the Lok Sabha, Assam, which votes for its 126-member assembly in March/April this year, may not be critical to political parties from a larger perspective. But this time, the polls are a matter of prestige more than numbers in elections.
Challenger BJP and the Obligatory Congress look set for a battle of prestige in the state. And after consecutive losses in Bihar, Delhi and the BJP in particular is taking no chances.
Born in 1962, Earlier Sonowal was the president of the AASU from 1992 to 1999 till the time he joined the Asom Gana Parishad. In January 2011, he joined the BJP and gradually rose in ranks. Sonowal was also the petitioner at the apex court against the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 (IMDT Act) which was finally struck down by the Supreme Court in July 2005.
This made him very much popular across the state and he became a household name. He was even conferred with the title of Jatia Nayak by his then organisation All Assam Students Union.