File photo of Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal

Speculations are rife over the chief ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam. Several media reports indicated that state finance and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is in the fray for the seat.

The influential minister, who is all set to contest the polls from his Jalukbari constituency, said that the party will decide who will be their CM candidate. The comment has raised even more questions on the topic.

However, party insiders based in New Delhi suggested that the BJP leadership is quite satisfied with incumbent CM Sarbananda Sonowal and will not mind continuing with him for the next term.

“That (CM candidate) is not something we are discussing seriously. Our main agenda is to win the elections in Assam with better figures than the previous term. And we are pretty confident of doing so. The kind of development works, our party has done in the last five years is good enough reason why people will vote for us,” said a senior BJP leader who didn’t wish to be named.

“Our leadership is satisfied and happy with the way Sonowal has carried himself and the party image in the state in the last five years. No one will mind having him as the CM again,” he added.

Sonowal, before becoming the chief minister of Assam in 2016, was working as Union sports minister. It is learnt that Sonowal is in the good books of the think-tank of the saffron party.

Like the previous time, Sarbananda Sonowal will contest the Assam assembly elections from the Majuli constituency.

Quizzed about BJP not naming a CM candidate in Assam, state BJP chief Ranjeet Kumar Dass had said that when a government is already there, a candidate need not be announced. “When there is no government a party brings in a face by announcing a name for the post. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s name was announced in 2013 before 2014 general election but it wasn’t announced in 2019 because everyone is aware that he is the face of the party,” Dass said.

Dass further stated that the BJP, hence, will not announce the name for the CM in Assam. “Media has definitely been asking me this question about the chief ministerial candidate but my workers have not raised this issue with me,” Dass added.

A senior BJP leader said that Sarma is eyeing the post of CM and he may not be content with a ministerial post this time.

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