After it brought an end to 15 years of Congress rule, the BJP is all set to form the government in Assam with Sarbananda Sonowal as chief minister.
After the results were out on Thursday heralding big win for BJP and its alliance partner Asom Gana Parishad, Congress strongman and three-time chief minister Tarun Gogoi conceded defeat.
He congratulated Sonowal, now minister of state for sports and youth affairs in Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the centre.
Here are things you would like to know about 53-year-old Sonowal, a product of student politics in Assam who is poised to lead BJP’s first ever government in a northeastern state barely five years after joining the party.
1. One of BJP’s young and firebrand leaders in Assam, Sonowal was born in 1962. He graduated in communication and journalism from Gauhati University and did his LLB from Dibrugarh University.
2. Sonowal’s foray into politics began when he became president of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1992.
He remained AASU chief till 1999. He also served as the chairman of the North East Students’ Organisation from 1994 to 2004.
He challenged the controversial Illegal Migrants’ Determination by Tribunal (IMDT) Act in the Supreme Court and got it scrapped.
3. Sonowal made his natural transition to Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) – the political party founded by AASU leaders in 2001 and won the Moran assembly constituency in Upper Assam as its candidate.
4. He won the Lok Sabha polls three years later by wresting the Lakhimpur constituency from the Congress.
However, in 2009, he lost the next Lok Sabha election from Dibrugarh constituency as AGP suffered a debacle.
6. In 2011, Sonowal resigned from AGP to join BJP and was made the state president of the saffron party a year later.
Under his leadership, BJP bagged seven of 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 general election – its best performance ever.
He himself won from Laxmipur seat. Modi made him the Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs.
7. Sonowal enjoyed the confidence of Modi for his clean image. In January,
BJP announced his name as its chief ministerial candidate. He did not fail the Prime Minister, led the party to victory in Assam.