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Sonowal to be a Guide; Grateful to PM Modi, Amit Shah for Support: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Chief Minister-elect Himanta Biswa Sarma and his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal with other leaders.

Assam Chief Minister-elect Himanta Biswa Sarma and his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal with other leaders.

The term of the current assembly is scheduled to end on May 31. Of the 126 assembly seats in Assam, the ruling alliance secured 75 seats with the BJP winning 60, the AGP bagging nine and the UPPL six.

Assam Chief Minister-elect Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday said that his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal "will continue to remain a 'marg-darshak' (guide)". After being unanimously elected leader of both the BJP Legislature Party and the NDA Legislature Party, Sarma said that he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda, Sonowal and all other party leaders for giving him an opportunity to serve the people of the state. He also pledged to carry out his duties with "dedication and honesty".

Effusive in his praise for Sonowal, the BJP leader, who is also the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor, described his tenure as one "unblemished without a single charge of corruption or any other allegation". "He practised politics of values. Sonowal is a leader with a foresight, someone who had the vision of uniting the people of 'Barak-Brahmaputra-plains-hills' while ensuring no section of the society was left behind. He was our leader and will remain so as our 'marg-darshak'.

"He had immense faith in me and gave me important portfolios. He inspired me to serve the people well. I promise to follow the path that he has shown us in the last five years," the CM-designate said during his address. Sarma also expressed his gratitude to the prime minister for "prioritising North East since 2014, ushering in development in the region, facilitating connectivity through rail, road, air, information and technology".

The CM-elect thanked Modi for visiting the state's "nooks and corners" during elections to hold campaigns not just for the BJP candidates but also nominees of its alliance partners — the AGP and the UPPL. "We are particularly grateful to the PM for giving due respect and recognition to our 'gamosa'. Even when he was administered the vaccine, he had it around his neck. This love of his for the 'gamosa' fills every Assamese heart, including mine, with immense pride," he stated.

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The NEDA convenor further said that Shah and Nadda have also "given us the strength and determination to march towards our goal, and for this we shall be indebted to them". "It was due to the Union home minister's meticulous planning that peace returned to the Bodo and the Karbi areas, bringing along with it new hopes for the tribal communities," he underlined.

"History has been created by the BJP and its allies as it is the first non-Congress government to be retain power for the second successive term in the state," Sarma said, congratulating the newly elected MLAs of all three parties of the NDA. He urged the legislators to ensure that the poorest of the poor are attended to.

"We have to dedicate ourselves to the service of the state, to help realise the dream of making Assam one of the top five states in the country," he added. Sarma was elected to the assembly from the Jalukbari assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive term.

Taking to Twitter, Sonowal said, “Congratulations to Shri @himantabiswa on being elected the leader of @BJP4Assam Legislative Party. I believe that you will carry forward the development journey of Assam that we together began as #TeamAssam under the leadership of PM Shri @narendramodi ji."

Earlier in the day, Sarma called on Governor Jagdish Mukhi at Raj Bhawan and staked claim to form government. He was accompanied by Sonowal, submitted the list of elected legislators owing allegiance to the NDA. Mukhi accepted his claim and invited him to form government, PTI sources said. The Governor will administer him the oath of office on Monday at 12 noon.

The term of the current assembly is scheduled to end on May 31. Of the 126 assembly seats in Assam, the ruling alliance secured 75 seats with the BJP winning 60, the AGP bagging nine and the UPPL six.

(with inputs from PTI)

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