From Ball Boy to the Chief Ministership
Finally the long wait it over. For over a decade, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma has been the bridesmaid not the bride.
First it was to Tarun Gogoi and then to Sarbananda Sonowal, he has been the bridesmaid, doing everything from running the election, funding it, canvassing it yet the post of the Chief Minister was always out of the bound.
In fact when this master politicians packed his followers in the 2021 BJP candidates list, even then also most of the political pundits did not give him much chance to become the next Chief Minister replacing Sarbananda Sonowal.
The election result of 2021 Assam Assembly election was always a forgone calculation for most of the political pundits but the bigger question was- who would be the next Chief Minister of Assam.
It has been a long journey for Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma and no politicians of Assam since independence has such a hold over Assam Politics and that too in two major parties and spread over two decades.
Dr Sharma was first noticed as a Ball boy of the wildly popular Assam police football team in the mid seventies and then he emerged as a fiery orator in his school days during the Assam Agitation when he was a force to reckon with in the Debating competitions.
He rose through the ranks of the All Assam Student union as well as student politics and became General Secretary of the All Guwahati Students Union (AGS) when most of his AGSU colleagues joined the revolutionary ULFA.
In the process he was also the General Secretary of the Cotton College for several times.
However he fell out with AASU and was expelled from it as he came close to the then Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia in the early nineties. Mr Saikia was bête noie of the AASU.
Hiteswar Saikia gave him enormous space in the Congress party and he kept rising through the ranks but lost his first election in 1996 to Bhrigu Kumar Phukan in the Jalukabri constituency.
Since 2001 there has been no stopping as he kept winning Jalukabari constituency and very soon endeared himself to next Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Mr Gogoi have him a free hand and literally since 2006 Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma ran successive Assam government through Tarun Gogoi. During this period, he rose as the most important politicians of Assam.
He fell out with Tarun Gogoi when Mr Gogoi promoted his son Gaurab Gogoi as the political heir instead of Himanta Biswa Sarma.
After a protracted political clash lasting over three years, Himanta Biswa Sharma left Congress for BJP in 2016 and rest is history.
He not only organized a thumping victory to the BJP party but cobbled together the North East Democratic Alliance and gave BJP the complete footing in the North East where they had no presence literally.
In the process, Dr Sharma emerged as the face of the North East India and after Purno Sangma, the tallest political leader from the region to command attention in the national politics.
A tremendous networker, he endeared people of Assam by leading the Covid fight from the front and that was one of the key reason why he was chosen over Sarbananda Sonowal, who also has an unblemished track record.
Dr.Sarma was born on 1 February 1969 in Guwahati to Kailash Nath Sarma and Mrinalini Devi. A resident of Gandhi Basti in Ulubari, Sarma was an alumnus of Kamrup Academy School, Guwahati, Cotton College, and Government Law College, Guwahati, and received a Ph.D. degree from Gauhati University in Law. He practiced law at Gauhati High Court from 1996 to 2001.
Sarma married Riniki Bhuyan Sarma in 2001, with whom he has a son -Nandil Biswa Sarma and a daughter-Sukanya Sarma.