Assembly Elections 2016 Results
Himanta Biswa Sarma: The maverick who played a key role in decimating Congress in Assam
The Lotus has finally bloomed in the northeast and if there's one man who the BJP should thank the most it is Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The 47-year-old street smart politician was once the blue-eyed boy of Tarun Gogoi before he switched sides to the BJP in August 2015.
With his entry, the BJP had two powerful faces – the other being Sarbananda Sonowal – in a state where the party always lacked strong leadership.
Sonowal had led the BJP to a spectacular victory in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the momentum was in the saffron party's favour, all that was needed was a strong push towards dominance and that came in the form of Sarma.
The importance of Sarma was never due to his pre-eminence as a Congress leader but more due to his personal popularity in Assam and elsewhere in the northeast.
The BJP top brass played its card well to ensure that he got an important role in selecting candidates, thereby drawing on Sarma's in-depth knowledge about the power and vote equations in Assam.
There was a time when it was unthinkable that Sarma would leave the Congress fold. But when Tarun Gogoi started to project his son Gaurav Gogoi as his heir, the ambitious Sarma was left with no option but to leave the party he had helped secure three consecutive victories in Assam.
Just before he left the Congress, there were reports that Sarma was denied an opputunity to meet Rahul Gandhi to present his side of the story in the squabble with Gogoi .
However, Sarma has denied this on record today on Live TV. He says he did in fact get an audience with rahul 8-9 times but rahul was non-serious even playing with his dogs while talking to him.
When he went to meet Amit Shah , Rahul had sent out a more serious message to him but Sarma had said – time’s up for you now. As nothing concrete had emerged from his earlier meetings.
But that's all in the past and the Congress would be surely ruing its mistake of having undervalued Sarma's importance, however, the bigger challenge now is for the BJP to keep his ambitions in line with the party's broader vision.
Sarbananda Sonowal is the CM-in-waiting and Sarma, in all likelihood will be his Deputy.
But will he be contended with being a Deputy is the big question which only time will answer.