It’s official. Bharatiya Janata Party has breached the North East, entering into Assam, as per the Election Commission of India’s results for the Assam legislative elections 2016. Riding on anti-incumbency wave, Bharatiya Janata Party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fulfilled the objective of democratically removing the incumbent Chief Minister of Assam, Congress stalwart Tarun Gogoi. But if someone really deserves the praise, it is the two harbingers of victory for BJP in Assam. If North East has welcomed BJP through Assam, it is because of these two heroes. Their names are Sarbananda Sonowal and Hemanta Biswa Sarma. Had it not been for these two fine gentlemen, even BJP’s new found allies, Assam Gana Parishad, and Bodo Peoples’ Front would not have been able to strike much in the Congress bastion, which is now reduced to a laughable 26 seats, a far cry from their claim to win 90+ seats.
Born on, Tuesday, 30th October 1962, at Dinjan, in Dibrugarh, Sarbananda Sonowal was a firebrand leader right from the start. A law graduate in Criminal Justice from Dibrugarh University; he was the President of All Assam Students Union. By late 2000, he had joined Assam Gana Parishad. His anti illegal immigrants’ stance is well known, for he successfully campaigned in getting the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, which jeopardized the internal security of both Assam and India, repealed in 2005. Sarbananda Sonowal is also known for his vocal and vociferous support for the youth issues, as a consequence of which he became an MP from AGP in 2004, winning from the Dibrugarh constituency. In 2009, he lost his seat, and in 2011, Sarbananda, the ideal that he was, left the Assam Gana Parishad, just because the party decided to join hands with Congress, the chief force behind the very act he fought vociferously against, the IMDT act. Besides his political innings, Sarbananda is an ardent fan of soccer, cricket and badminton, and loves to play them, whenever free.
Thus began Sarbananda’s new innings, in 2011. He joined Bharatiya Janata Party, bringing in loads of native support for the right winged nationalist party.
Being a popular face in Assam as well, Sarbananda Sonowal was entrusted with the responsibility of breaching Tarun Gogoi’s Congress bastion in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, which Sarbananda fulfilled with elan, winning 7 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats for BJP, a significant increase of 3 seats from the 4 it won way back in 2009.
Impressed by his achievement, our PM Narendra Modi, defying all the known notions, rewarded him with the rank of Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, and the candidature of the Chief Minister of Assam.
After the unfortunate drubbing of Delhi and Bihar, where voters fell for the Goebbels propaganda of Arvind Kejriwal and Nitish Kumar, it was natural that many an election analyst would be skeptical of the chances of BJP. This is where Sonowal’s candidature came to the rescue, attracting the once strong allies of Congress, Bodoland People’s Front, and Assam Gana Parishad to their stronghold. The cherry on the icing came to be, when Congress second in command in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sharma (Sarma in local lingo) was unceremoniously ousted for protesting against Tarun Gogoi and Rahul Gandhi’s decision to appoint Gaurav Gogoi, Tarun’s son as heir apparent. Thus, Himanta became the Vibhishan for BJP, providing the much needed input support and the native votes.
The precious combo of Himanta and Sarbananda managed to do what the Congress never could have imagined. Despite the party joining hands with opportunist Badruddin Jamal’s AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front), they failed to garner the much needed minority votes, which were swayed away by the genuine promise of development, from the side of BJP. Himanta’s popularity among the locals was such, that none could actually reject his request of voting for BJP, except for some hardliners. As a result, BJP, in a new found alliance, won an overwhelming 86 seats out of the 126 seats, with BJP falling barely 4 seats short of majority itself. This is a huge improvement from the meager 5 seats it won in the previous election, and thus, increasing their vote share by a staggering 25%. All thanks to Sarbananda Sonowal’s ingenuity, and the homework of Himanta Biswa Sharma.
What’s in store for BJP now? If there is a lesson to be learnt, it is simple: choose a strong local leader like Sarbananda Sonowal, get the disillusioned from the opposition in your camp, and increase your chances of making it big in those states where BJP was never heard of. This was the same strategy that propelled BJP to power in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, and Haryana etc. We hope that BJP takes this lesson well, as it prepares to breach another bastion of nepotism, the great Uttar Pradesh, in 2017!
Get real time updates about our posts directly on your device