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From student leader to Assam CM & Union Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal in PM Modi-led Cabinet again

© Provided by The Rahnuma Daily

From student leader to Assam CM & Union Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal in PM Modi-led Cabinet again

New Delhi/Guwahati, June 10 (IANS) Sixty-one-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, on Sunday was sworn-in as Cabinet minister again in Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Union government.

Sonowal was first accommodated in the Union government following the BJP’s spectacular performance in Assam in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

An All Assam Students Union (AASU) leader, Sarbananda Sonowal joined the regional outfit Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in 1999 after a seven-year long stint as the student body president between 1992-99.

He also held the post of Chairman of the North East Students’ Association (Northeast Student Union) from 1994 to 2004.

He was elected an MLA from Moran Assembly constituency in 2001 election.

Three years later, Sonowal defeated Congress heavyweight Paban Singh Ghatowar from Dibrugarh Lok Sabha constituency to enter the lower house of the parliament as an MP for the first time.

A post graduate in English literature, the senior BJP leader earned a law degree from Dibrugarh University.

Sonowal also completed the Bachelor of Journalism course from Gauhati University.

Born in an Assamese Hindu family, he did his schooling at Don Bosco High School in Dibrugarh district.

Sonowal rose to immense popularity after he took the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration in Assam to the Supreme Court and the apex court in 2005, struck down the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, as unconstitutional and termed Bangladeshi infiltration an “external aggression” and observed that “the Bangladesh nationals who have illegally crossed the border and have trespassed into Assam or are living in other parts of the country have no legal right of any kind to remain in India and they are liable to be deported”.

However, despite that, he lost the Lok Sabha polls to Ghatowar in 2009.

Sonowal left AGP in 2011, joined the BJP and he was made the state president of the party.

He was instrumental in BJP’s surprisingly good performance in Assam in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014. Sarbananda Sonowal defeated then Union Minister and Congress candidate in Lakhimpur Parliamentary constituency, Ranee Narah.

Post 2014, BJP was eyeing to oust the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government from the power in Assam and Sonowal was again sent to state politics by the top brass of the BJP.

In 2016, the first-ever BJP government was formed in Assam and Sonowal was made the Chief Minister in the state.

He led the BJP to retain govt in Assam in 2021 state assembly polls defeating the grand alliance formed by Congress and Badruddin Ajmal’s party AIUDF. However, after the poll results, he resigned as Chief Minister and proposed Himanta Biswa Sarma’s name as his successor.

Sonowal was brought back to the Centre and he became a Union Minister of ports, Shipping and Waterways and Minister of AYUSH in the second NDA government led by PM Narendra Modi.

The BJP fielded Sarbananda Sonowal in the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls from Dibrugarh constituency.

He comfortably defeated the united opposition candidate and another former AASU leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi by a margin of 2,79,321 votes.

On Sunday evening, Sonowal first took oath as a Union Minister from the northeast region followed by MP from Arunachal Pradesh, Kiren Rijiju.


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