Even one week after the counting, a new chief minister is yet to take oath in Assam. This is the only state where the Bharatiya Janata Party won the Assembly poll held in four states and one Union Territory.
While Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Puducherry faced no problem in electing the legislative party leaders it is in Assam that this process is yet to be completed. Counting in all these places had taken place on May 2.
Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and his number two in the cabinet Himanta Biswa Sarma are in Delhi on Saturday (May 8) where they are holding talks with the national president of the BJP J P Nadda and Union home minister Amit Shah.
The problem with the saffron party is that during the campaigning it, in a way, projected Sarma as the CM face. But since Sonowal too contested the poll and registered victory from his Assembly seat (Majuli) he was the natural claimant to this post.
But the party appears to be divided over the issue of the chief minister.
While Sonowal is a tribal and Sarma a Brahmin the party did not want to antagonise any one social group by denying ticket to one. So, there was a tacit understanding that Sonowal be allowed to contest; but after the victory of the party, he would be once again inducted into the Union cabinet. He was a minister in the Narendra Modi cabinet between 2014 and 2016 before he became the chief minister of the state.
It needs to be mentioned that till 2011 he was in the Asom Gana Parishad.
On the other hand, Sarma, then a leading light of the Congress, quarreled with the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi, and joined the BJP in August 2015, that is just nine months before the Assembly election in Assam. He was reportedly given the assurance that he would be the number two in the cabinet for the first term and in the next term he would be elevated to the post of CM.
After all, the main reason behind leaving the Congress party too was his claim to the post of CM. It was then reported that Tarun Gogoi (the then CM) wanted his son Gaurav Gogoi to succeed him. The latter is the party’s MP.
Now after winning the election the BJP is finding it a bit difficult to tackle the emerging challenge.
It needs to be recalled that the new BJP CMs (Yogi Adityanath and Trivendra Singh Rawat) could take oath in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand 10 days after the March 11, 2017 victories by a thumping majority in these two states. In contrast the saffron party managed to form the government by the very next day in Goa where it could not win a majority. The party indulged in horse-trading even before the counting process was finally over.