Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said he was not interested in contesting the upcoming Assembly elections in the state and that his role would be limited to contributing “whatever he can”. The state goes to polls next year.
In a series of tweets, Sarma, who is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, claimed his only political ambition at the moment was to ensure his party retains power in Assam in 2021. “Few people feel I am after some post and position,” he said. “My only ambition is to see a BJP government with 100 plus seats.”
“In my last few months, I want to work for my state as much as possible to have eternal satisfaction,” he added. “‘Janani Janmabhumischa Swargadapi Gariyasi’ [Mother and Motherland are superior even to Heaven].”
The health minister also asserted that a “strong nationalist government” was needed in Assam. “As I have already indicated in several public platform that I am not interested in contesting next Assembly election, my role will be limited to contribute whatever I can for my party and for my state,” he tweeted. “For Assam[’s] future we need to have a strong nationalist government.”
Sarma’s announcement came amid speculation that he would be the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate from Assam. Earlier this month, Minister of State of Health Pijush Hazarika had said that Sarma has all the capabilities and “merits” of becoming the chief minister, according to the Hindustan Times. Sarma, however, responded, saying “everyone was eligible to become the chief minister”.
Last week, the BJP leader told journalists in Guwahati that he was undecided on whether he would contest the 2021 Assembly elections. Sarma had said the decision will be taken by the BJP and his family.
“There are several speculations on my contesting the 2021 polls,” he had said. “Right now I haven’t thought of it. My present aim is to complete all our government’s pending tasks by March next year... I am not seeking any post, but am more interested in working for my people and state.”
On Tuesday, Sarma had also claimed that the BJP was yet to decide on a chief ministerial candidate from Assam and lambasted Congress leader Tarun Gogoi for suggesting the party was going to pick former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi for the post. “Tarun Gogoi has a grudge against me but drags in Ranjan Gogoi’s name,” Sarma had said.