Home >politics >policy >BJP names Sarbananda Sonowal as CM candidate for Assam polls

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday named Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union minister for sports and youth affairs, as the party’s chief ministerial candidate for the assembly elections in Assam, due in four months.

The decision signals a change of strategy for the party that did not announce a chief ministerial candidate ahead of last year’s Bihar polls.

The announcement was made after the party’s parliamentary board met for the first time after the re-election of Amit Shah as party president.

Sonowal was made president of BJP’s Assam unit in November last year.

“The parliamentary board discussed coming assembly polls in all four states (Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal) and Puducherry, but decision was taken for Assam. We are confident that BJP will form government in Assam," said J.P. Nadda, a member of the parliamentary board and union health minister. The parliamentary board is the highest decision-making body of the ruling party.

The choice of Sonowal as the chief ministerial candidate is interesting because he is an outsider in BJP and does not belong to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Sonowal started his political career as a member of the All Assam Students Union and was its president from 1992 to 1999. He was a leader of the Asom Gana Parishad before joining the BJP in 2011.

The sports minister is heading the election campaign committee of the BJP in Assam along with Himanta Biswa Sarma, who joined the BJP from the Congress, which rules in Assam.

The BJP leadership fancies its chances in Assam because the party won seven out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state during the 2014 general elections.

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