Bharatiya Janata Party leader Himanta Biswa Sarma took oath as Chief Minister of Assam at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra in Guwahati today. Governor Jagdish Mukhi administered him the oath of office and secrecy. Sarma, also the convenor of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), was sworn-in as he 15th Chief Minister of Assam.
Sarma, who was elected leader of both the BJP and NDA Legislature Party on Sunday, had called on the Governor at Raj Bhawan and submitted a list of elected legislators owing allegiance to the NDA.
Sarma, clad in traditional 'pat silk' dhoti and kurta with a muga 'gamosa' draped around his neck, took the oath of office and secrecy in Assamese. Along with him, 13 other legislators were also sworn-in as ministers amid strict COVID-19 protocols.
Among the MLAs sworn-in, 10 from the BJP, including state party president Ranjeet Kumar Dass and ministers of the outgoing government Chandra Mohan Patowary, Parimal Suklabaidya, Jogesh Mohan and Sanjay Kishan. The new faces as ministers were Ranoj Pegu, Bimal Borah and the only woman in the cabinet, Ajanta Neog.
Alliance partner AGP's Atul Bora and Keshab Mahanta, both ministers in the erstwhile government, and former Rajya Sabha MP UG Brahma of the UPPL, also took oath.
BJP president J P Nadda, outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Union ministers Jitendra Singh and Ramesh Teli, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphu Rio and Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora were among those present at the swearing-in ceremony.
Sarma, 52, in his address after being elected unanimously, was effusive in his praise for former CM Sarbananda Sonowal and described his tenure as 'unblemished without a single charge of corruption or any other allegations'. The BJP leader who owed his early rise to two former chief ministers from Congress had to toil for many years with dogged determination to achieve his goal.
A five-time MLA and a minister in all cabinets since 2001, Sarma's political acumen and the ability to get work done against all odds was not only noticed but rewarded by his mentors- former Congress Chief Ministers Hiteswar Saikia and Tarun Gogoi- with both giving him ample opportunities to rise.
After he fell out with Gogoi, he joined the BJP in August 2015. However despite steering the party to its maiden victory in Assam in 2016, he was made a Minister but the chief ministers berth went to his rival Sonowal, forcing him to wait for the top job.
Sarma, later in a tweet thanking the Prime Minister, said he "feels enormously blessed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's faith in me. This is the biggest day in my life, and I so fondly cherish your generous affection. I assure you we shall leave no stone unturned to carry forward your vision of taking Assam and North East to greater heights".
In another tweet, thanking the people of Assam, he said, "with fragrance of Assam in my heart and love of my wonderful people in my veins, I offer my deepest gratitude to you all. I would not have been what I am had it not been for your pious faith in me. On this day, I vow to work with each one of you with greater passion".
The ruling BJP alliance is the first non-Congress government in the state to win the state assembly elections for a second consecutive term. Of the 126 assembly seats in Assam, the ruling alliance has secured 75 seats with BJP winning 60 while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six.