North East Democratic Alliance convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma is all set to become Assam's next chief minister after being elected unanimously as the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party Legislature Party and subsequently as the National Democratic Alliance Legislature Party on Sunday, central observer and Union Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.
Ending speculations on who would occupy the top post as both Sarma and outgoing chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal were contenders, the powerful NEDA convenor was elected as the legislature party leader, a week after the ruling alliance won the assembly elections with a clear majority for the second successive term.
Sources said Sarma was likely to meet Governor Jagadish Mukhi on Sunday evening to stake claim for the formation of the next government.
The swearing in of the new ministry was likely to be held on Monday at the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra.
Sarma’s name was proposed by the outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and seconded by BJP state party president and Patacharkuchi MLA Ranjeet Kumar Dass and newly elected Haflong MLA Nandita Garlosa.
As no other name was proposed for the top job, Sarma has been elected unanimously as the BJP Legislature Party leader, Tomar said.
The meeting was held amid strict COVID distancing and safety rules at the BJP's conference hall in the Assam Legislative assembly, in the presence of central observers Tomar and Arun Singh, party's national general secretary.
A meeting of NDA partners -- BJP, AGP and UPPL -- was also subsequently held and Sarma was unanimously elected as the leader of the NDA Legislature Party, paving the way for him to become the next chief minister of the state.
Earlier in the day, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal tendered his resignation to Governor Jagadish Mukhi who as is tradition, asked him to continue till the formation of the next government.
Sarma also called on Sonowal before the meeting and the duo arrived for the legislature party meeting together in the same vehicle.
The outgoing chief minister presented him with the traditional 'gamosa' and patted him on the back before the beaming duo posed for photographs.
The party's central leadership had summoned Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, both contenders for the top post, to New Delhi on Saturday for discussions on the formation of the next government in the state.
The ruling BJP alliance is the first non-Congress government in the state to win the elections for the second consecutive term.
Of the 126 assembly seats in Assam, the ruling alliance has secured 75 seats with BJP winning 60 while its alliance partners AGP got nine seats and UPPL six.