Himanta Biswa Sarma takes oath as 15th CM of Assam; 13 MLAs sworn in as Cabinet ministers
BJP legislature party leader and chief minister-designate Himanta Biswa Sarma was sworn in as the 15th Chief Minister of Assam by Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi at the Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra here on Monday.
Five-time MLA from Jalukbari and former Cabinet minister, who held several important departments in the previous term, 52-year old Sarma on Sunday was elected as the leader of the BJP legislature party, paving the way for his elevation to the top post in the state.
Sarma, who contested from BJP in 2016 following his departure from Congress, was in contention for the top post along with former CM Sarbananda Sonowal. Following a meeting with BJP's central leadership in Delhi on Saturday, Sarma was named the preferred candidate.
Besides Sarma, 13 MLAs – a mix of new faces and old guards – have been sworn in as Cabinet ministers even as the Council of Ministers will exceed the number, with a few other legislators to be sworn in as ministers at a later date.
The 13 legislators sworn in on Monday include BJP state president and Patacharkuchi MLA, Ranjeet Kumar Dass; AGP president and former minister, Atul Bora; UPPL MLA from Chapaguri, Urkhao Gwra Brahma; former minister Parimal Suklabaidya; former minister Chandra Mohan Patowary; former minister Keshab Mahanta; Dhemaji MLA Ranoj Pegu; Tinsukia MLA and former minister Sanjay Kishan; Mahmora MLA and former minister Jogen Mohan; former minister and Golaghat MLA Ajanta Neog; Dhekiajuli MLA Ashok Singhal; former minister and Jagiroad MLA Pijush Hazarika and Tingkhong MLA Bimal Bora.
Owing to strict COVID-19 protocols and physical distancing norms, the 45-minute oath-taking ceremony was held at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra at Panjabari here in lieu of Raj Bhavan, where the swearing-in ceremonies are traditionally held.
About 600 high-profile guests were invited to the venue, which has a capacity of 1200-odd seats.
BJP national president Jagat Prakash Nadda and other central leaders, besides chief ministers of northeastern states such as Meghalaya, Manipur, Tripura and Nagaland were present on the occasion.
A personality with friends across the political spectrum, Sarma, who is also convenor of BJP’s North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), commands a pan-Northeastern appeal due to his active role in politics since 2001.
(Edited by Iban Mawrie)
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