Guwahati: Sarbananda Sonowal, among the Narendra Modi government’s first two ministers from the northeast, is back in the Union ministry as the in-charge of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and the Ministry of Ayush after a five-year stint in Assam.
Sonowal’s induction into the Union council of ministers has ended speculation about his role two months after he was replaced as chief minister even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power in Assam for a second time in a row under his leadership. His former state Cabinet colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma succeeded Sonowal as the chief minister in May.
For the BJP, it was a tough choice between the good image Mr. Sonowal had cultivated in the state and the indispensable strategizing and trouble-shooting skills of Dr. Sarma.
As the first BJP Chief Minister of Assam Sonowal has definitely done a lot in terms of the development with its development-centric policies and by ensuring peace in the state. He understood that Assam’s core problems like the illegal immigrant issue could be solved only by intervention at a national level.
In 2016, as Assam was ripe for a change after three terms of Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi, the BJP, in a change of strategy, had projected Sonowal as its face in the state.
Sonowal was President of the All-Assam Student Union between 1992 and 1999.
He then left the body to begin his political career by joining the Asom Gana Parishad, getting elected MLA from Moran in 2001.
Three years later, in 2004, he entered the Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh.
In 2011, he joined the BJP.
In 2014, he returned to the lower house, contesting from Lakhimpur and became the Union Sports Minister during Prime Minister Modi’s first term.