While Sonowal is the current chief minister, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is seen as a strong contender for the post.Sonowal and Sarma will fly on Saturday to New Delhi, where a meeting is likely to be held at party president JP Nadda’s residence.
A senior BJP leader who did not want to be named said: “The choice is tough as the BJP came back to power under Sonowal’s leadership and Sarma has emerged as a strong contender for his work in the last five years. The leadership is unusually taking a long time to find an amicable solution for at this juncture it is not possible to rehabilitate any of the leaders in the Centre.”
The BJP-led NDA secured 75 seats in the 126-member assembly, 11 seats less than in 2016. The BJP won 60 seats which is similar to the number it got five years ago. The Asom Gana Parishad won nine seats against 14 last time, while the new alliance partner, United People’s Party Liberal, got six seats.Opposition parties, meanwhile, have stepped up their attack on the BJP for the delay in government formation.
The Congress has offered that its 29 MLAS would support Sarma as the chief minister if he came out of the BJP. Sarma, a former Congress leader, had joined the BJP in 2015.
Congress MLA from Mariani Rupjyoti Kurmi said: “This is unfortunate that at this juncture when the state is grappling with the second wave of Covid-19, there is no government in the state. If they cannot decide on the chief minister’s post, let them give it to us and we will form the government.”Kurmi added: “29 MLAs of the Congress will support Sarma if he decides to come out of the BJP.”All India United Democratic Front MLA Aminul Islam said the BJP should give the CM post “to us if they are not able to form a government in Assam”.