Question mark continues to hang over next Assam CM leaving BJP leaders embarrassed


Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The BJP continues to face the chief ministerial conundrum in Assam.

Five days after the Assembly election results were declared and the CMs of some states took their oath, Assam still does not know who is going to lead the government.

The BJP has not been able to choose between incumbent CM Sarbananda Sonowal and party strongman Himanta Biswa Sarma. Party’s central leaders JP Nadda and Amit Shah had met in New Delhi on Thursday night, apparently to discuss the matter.

The uncertainty has left the state leaders embarrassed. They are avoiding phone calls from journalists, for they have no idea when the new government will be installed or who will head it. For the past three days, they have been saying that it will be decided by the party’s Parliamentary Board.

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Apart from Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which is a Union Territory, went to polls. The new government has been installed in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. It is delayed in Kerala due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five days later, Sonowal appeared in public on Friday to monitor the Covid situation.

Asked about the uncertainty, he told journalists, “It is not a big thing who will become the next CM. The big thing is the protection of the people of Assam from the Covid virus.”

He said the party’s Parliamentary Board would meet in a day or two and decide the next CM.

“There will definitely be a government. The Parliamentary Board is meeting in a day or two. It will take the final decision,” Sonowal said.

However, party MP, Horen Sing Bey claimed the decision has been already made.

“I learnt the Parliamentary Board has met and taken a decision on the next CM. One or two BJP central observers will visit Assam this evening or tomorrow,” Bey told journalists.

Over a dozen BJP MLAs loyal to Sarma were seen visiting his residence on Friday. What transpired there was in the realms of speculation. Earlier, at least two BJP MLAs had said on record that one, who is the most efficient, should become the CM.

The Congress criticised the BJP for allegedly pushing the people into a state of chaos.

“We need a government which can work on a war-footing to fight Covid. The people of Assam gave them a clear mandate. Now when one minute is precious for us, there is chaos all over in the absence of a government. It is unfortunate that the BJP hasn’t been able to decide on its CM candidate,” state Congress chief Ripun Bora said.

The BJP-led alliance had retained power by winning 75 of the 126 seats.

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