Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma (Assamese: হিমন্ত বিশ্ব শৰ্মা; Hindi: हिमंता बिस्वा सरमा; born 1 February 1969) is an Indian politician who serves as the 15th and current senior Chief Minister of Assam.[2] A former member of the Indian National Congress political party, Sarma crossed the floor to join the Bharatiya Janata Party on 23 August 2015.[3] He is a five time Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly from Jalukbari, having first been elected in 2001.[4][5]

Himanta Biswa Sarma
Himanta Biswa Sarma,.jpg
Sarma in 2021
15th [[Chief Minister of Assam]]
Assumed office
10 May 2021
GovernorJagdish Mukhi
Preceded bySarbananda Sonowal
Minister of the Government of Assam
In office
24 May 2016 – 9 May 2021
Chief MinisterSarbananda Sonowal
MinistryFinance, Planning and Development, Health and Family Welfare, Education, Public Works
In office
2011–2014
Chief MinisterTarun Gogoi
MinistryFinance, Health & Family Welfare, Public Works, Transformation & Development
In office
2006–2011
Chief MinisterTarun Gogoi
MinistryHealth and Family Welfare, Finance, Public Works, Culture
Minister of State of the Government of Assam
In office
1 September 2004 – June 2006
Chief MinisterTarun Gogoi
MinistryFinance, Planning and Development
In office
7 June 2002 – 31 August 2004
Chief MinisterTarun Gogoi
MinistryAgriculture, Planning and Development
Member of the Assam Legislative Assembly
Assumed office
2001
Preceded byBhrigu Kumar Phukan
ConstituencyJalukbari
Personal details
Born (1969-02-01) 1 February 1969 (age 52)
Jorhat, Assam, India
CitizenshipIndia
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party (2015–present)
Other political
affiliations
Indian National Congress (1996–2015)
Spouse(s)
(m. 2001)
ChildrenNandil (son), Sukanya (daughter)
ParentsKailash Nath Sarma
Mrinalini Devi
Alma mater
WebsiteHimanta Biswa Sarma
Nickname(s)Mama[1]

Sarma cited mismanagement by Rahul Gandhi as the reason for his defection from the Indian National Congress party. He led the BJP's successful state election campaign in 2016 and was sworn in as a Cabinet Minister on 24 May 2016. The BJP appointed him the convener (leader) of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a regional sub-group of the federal National Democratic Alliance (NDA), aimed at increasing the party's political strength in North-East India.[6] He is often called 'Mama' (meaning maternal uncle) by voters in Assam.[1]

Early life and educationEdit

Sarma was born on 1 February 1969 in Gandhi Basti, Ulubari, Guwahati.[7] He belongs to a Assamese Bamun family which traces its origins to Latima in Nalbari district.[8][9] Sarma married Riniki Bhuyan Sarma in 2001, with whom he has a son, Nandil Biswa Sarma,[10] who attended The Doon School,[11] and a daughter, Sukanya Sarma, who attended Mayo College Girls School.[7][12]

Sarma was educated at Kamrup Academy School, Guwahati in 1985 and joined Cotton College, Guwahati (now known as Cotton University) for his undergraduate education.[13] He was elected the General Secretary of Cotton College Students Union, serving from 1991 to 1992.[14] Sarma is the seventh chief minister of Assam from Cotton University.[15][16]

He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in 1990 and Master of Arts in 1992, both in political science, from the University.[13] Thereafter, Sarma obtained a Bachelor of Laws from Government Law College, Guwahati, and became a solicitor in 1995. He practised law at the Gauhati High Court from 1996 to 2001. In 2006, he completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in political science from Gauhati University, defending his dissertation shortly before he was elected to public office.[13][12][17]

Political careerEdit

Indian National CongressEdit

Sarma was elected to the Assam Legislative Assembly from Jalukbari for the first time in 2001 when he defeated Asom Gana Parishad leader Bhrigu Kumar Phukan. He was re-elected in 2006, then in 2011 for a third consecutive term with a 78,000 vote margin.[18][19] Sarma held important portfolios (both state and cabinet) as Minister of State for Agriculture, Planning and Development, Finance, Health, Education, and Assam Accord Implementation from 2002 to 2014.[18][20]

He was made Cabinet Minister for Health in 2006, and in 2011 he was also entrusted with the additional charge of Education.[7] During his tenure, three medical colleges in Jorhat, Barpeta and Tezpur were built.[21] He also initiated work for five more medical colleges in Diphu, Nagaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur and Kokrajhar, which are now in various startup stages.[22]

Bharatiya Janata PartyEdit

After political disagreements with the former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Sarma resigned from all positions on 21 July 2014. He was a Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Jalukbari constituency until his resignation from the Assembly on 15 September 2015.[12][23] Sarma joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on 23 August 2015 at the residence of Amit Shah at New Delhi.[24] He was appointed as the party's Convener of the Election Management Committee for the upcoming Assembly Elections in the state.[25] In May 2016, Sarma won the Jalukbari constituency for the fourth consecutive term and was sworn in as Cabinet Minister on 24 May in Sonowal ministry, in the first BJP Government in North East India. He was allotted portfolios like Finance, Health & Family Welfare, Education, Planning & Development, Tourism, Pension & Public Grievances.[26]

Chief Minister of AssamEdit

On 10 May 2021, Sarma was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Assam, succeeding his colleague Sarbananda Sonowal.[27]

Sarma urged Muslims to adopt "decent family planning" in June 2021. He also stressed the need for a new law against illegal cattle smuggling in Assam. [28] Mission Basundhara was launched under Sarma in 2021; it aims at helping residents with issues related to land and property.[29]

Boundary dispute with MizoramEdit

On 26 July 2021 Assam Police and Mizoram Police (Mizoram is a sister state of Assam on its southern boundary) fired upon each other supposedly part of the decades old Assam-Mizoram border dispute. Assam lost six police personnel and a civilian in the firefight, while one youth from Mizoram suffered a gunshot wound. Both sides charged each other with opening fire first.

Reports from news media indicate that on 24 July 2021, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Zoramthanga had a one-to-one talk about the boundary dispute where both agreed to settle the matter amicably through talks. Before this could take place, and only two days after the two Chief Ministers held their talks, this incident took place.[30]

Days after skirmish which left dozens of others injured, the Assam government on 29 July 2021 issued a travel advisory, asking people of the state not to travel to Mizoram - the first such travel advisory by a state in the independent India.[31] Himanta retracted from this advisory a day later.[32] Further, Assam's Home and Political Department 29 July, said the police should carry out an intensive drive against drugs and check "all vehicles entering into Assam from Mizoram".[33][34]

Sports administratorEdit

On 23 April 2017, Sarma was unanimously elected as President of Badminton Association of India. Sarma has been the president of the Assam Badminton Association. He also became the president of the Assam Cricket Association in June 2016 when his party man Pradip Buragohain became the secretary. Sarma was also the longest-serving vice president of the association serving from 2002 to 2016.[35][36]

Public profileEdit

 
Sarma in 2021

Controversial statementsEdit

In November 2020, Biswa posted on social media, falsely claiming that supporters of AIUDF politician Badruddin Ajmal had shouted slogans in support of Pakistan to greet him, on his arrival at Silchar airport. Biswa's claim was reiterated by an Assamese news channel, News Live, which is owned by Biswa's wife, and then also confirmed by several news channels and newspapers, including Times Now, CNN News18, and The New Indian Express. Biswa's posts were flagged by Facebook as misinformation and blocked from being shared, after independent third-party fact-checkers examined videos of the event, and demonstrated that the slogans shouted had consisted of the names of political leaders and not in support of Pakistan. Guwahati Police have since registered a First Information Report and opened a case.[37][38][39][40][41][42]

In April 2021, Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that there is no need to wear masks in the state as there is no more coronavirus, when India was undergoing the second wave of COVID-19.[43]

Court relatedEdit

Though Sarma was implicated in the Manabendra Sarma case he was acquitted by the court.[44][45][46]

A Delhi-based advocate from Assam has lodged a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against the Assam police "on an encounter spree" since Sarma stated in the police conference that police should shoot alleged criminals at legs which are permitted by the law.[47]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Dipankar Roy (10 May 2021). "Everyone's 'Mama' is Assam's Next CM: Himanta Biswa Sarma's Own Mettle Has Catapulted Him to the Top". News18.
  2. ^ Karthikeyan, Suchitra (9 May 2021). "Himanta Biswa Sarma to take oath as 15th Assam Chief Minister, elected legislative chief". Republic World. Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  3. ^ Bhatt, Sheela (15 February 2016). "Himanta Biswa Sarma: In 2016 Assam election, Bangladeshi immigrants want their own CM too". Indian Express.
  4. ^ Ghosh, Abantika (20 May 2016). "I told Rahul Gandhi you will not cross 25 seats, he said we will win: BJP MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma". The Indian Express. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  5. ^ "Himanta Biswa Sarma: Early Life, INC & BJP Political Career, Books, Controversies & more". The Sentinel Assam. 9 May 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  6. ^ "Former Gogoi close aide Himanta Biswa Sarma named convener of NDA's northeast alliance". DNA India. 24 May 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "Who's Who". www.assamassembly.gov.in. Assam Legislative Assembly. Archived from the original on 15 September 2021. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  8. ^ Pisharoty, Sangeeta Barooah (9 May 2021). "Assam Has a New CM – Himanta Biswa Sarma. What Does It Spell For the Future of Assam Politics?". The Wire. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  9. ^ Seal, Rajashree, ed. (10 May 2021). "BJP's Troubleshooter, NE's Most Influential Politician Himanta Biswa Sarma to Take Oath as Assam CM Today". india.com. Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  10. ^ Kalita, Prabin (7 April 2021). "Assam: Don't want my son to step into politics, says Himanta Biswa Sarma". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Himanta's son Nandil becomes captain of prestigious Doon School". Northeast Now. 24 January 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  12. ^ a b c "Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma" (PDF). Government of Assam. Retrieved 30 August 2012.[permanent dead link] (This paragraph was originally referenced to this source, a lot of the content was sourced to this)
  13. ^ a b c "Assam election results 2016: Meet Himanta Biswa Sarma, ex-Congress minister, the man behind BJP's historic victory". The Financial Express. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  14. ^ "Proud moment for Cotton University as Himanta Sarma becomes the institute's seventh alumnus to don Assam CM's hat". The New Indian Express. 11 May 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  15. ^ Kalita, Kangkan (10 May 2021). "As news breaks, Cotton Univ celebrates its 'very own CM'". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  16. ^ "Assam's Cotton University: Institute that gave state 7 of 15 its chief ministers". India Today. 10 May 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  17. ^ Affidavit. pg 7. Chief Election Officer, Assam. Retrieved on 22 September 2021.
  18. ^ a b IANS (15 September 2015). "Former Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Quits Assembly". NDTV. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  19. ^ Choudhury, Ratnadip (9 May 2021). "From Student Body To Assam Chief Minister: Long Journey For Himanta Biswa Sarma". NDTV. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Himanta Biswa Sarma". Business Standard India. Archived from the original on 9 September 2021. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Overview: Brief History of Jorhat Medical College". jorhatmedicalcollege.in. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  22. ^ Haq, Zia (3 May 2021). "Assam: The phenomenon called Himanta Biswa Sarma". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  23. ^ Himanta resigns from MLA post. Telegraph India. 15 September 2015. Archived on 1 August 2018.
  24. ^ IANS (23 August 2015). "Former Assam minister Himanta Biswa meets Amit Shah, to join BJP". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 22 September 2021.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  25. ^ Durba Ghosh. PTI (9 May 2021). "Dogged determination, hard work rewards Himanta Biswa Sarma with the CM's mantle". mint. Retrieved 22 September 2021.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  26. ^ "Minister's Portfolio, Parliamentary Affairs, Government Of Assam, India". parliamentaryaffairs.assam.gov.in. Archived from the original on 9 December 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  27. ^ Sharma, Vibha (9 May 2021). "Himanta Biswa Sarma is new chief minister of Assam". Tribune India. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  28. ^ "Adopt 'decent family planning' policy to reduce poverty: Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma tells Muslims". Scroll.in. Scroll. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  29. ^ Parashar, Utpal (21 September 2021). "Assam Police arrest 450 land brokers in crackdown against 'Dalal Raj'". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  30. ^ Saikia, Arunabh (28 July 2021). "Does Assam CM's belligerence over border dispute mark turn from coalition builder to regional bully?". Scroll.in. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  31. ^ Mazumdar, Prasanta (30 July 2021). "Do not visit Mizoram: Assam travel advisory for its people". The New Indian Express. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  32. ^ "No curbs on travel to Mizoram, says Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma". The New Indian Express. 30 July 2021. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  33. ^ Bhardwaj, Ananya (31 July 2021). "Mizoram says Assam govt order on checking of vehicles for drugs 'harassment', writes to MHA". ThePrint. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  34. ^ Singh, Abhilash (30 July 2021). "Mizoram Govt condemns Assam's order to check all vehicles from Mizoram". EastMojo. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  35. ^ Himanta Biswa Sarma becomes ACA chief. Assam Tribune (13 June 2016). Retrieved on 31 August 2017. Archived on 1 August 2018.
  36. ^ PTI (11 June 2016). "Himanta Biswa Sarma Set To Become New Assam Cricket Association Chief". NDTV. Retrieved 22 September 2021.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  37. ^ "Himanta Biswa Sarma booked for false claim on social media: Police". The Indian Express. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  38. ^ "Case Registered Against Himanta Biswa Sarma For False Claim On Social Media: Police". NDTV.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  39. ^ "BJP's Himanta Biswa, media falsely claim 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans raised by AIUDF supporters". Alt News. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  40. ^ Nath, Hemanta Kumar (10 November 2020). "Case registered against Assam minister Himanta Biswa for false claim on social media". India Today. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  41. ^ "Senior Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma Booked for False Claim on Social Media: Police". News18. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  42. ^ "Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma booked for false claims on social media, say police". Scroll.in. 10 November 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  43. ^ "'No need for masks, coronavirus is gone in Assam,' says health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma". Business Today. Business Today. Retrieved 1 July 2021.
  44. ^ Kashyap, Samudra Gupta (12 July 2010). "RTI activist has 'proof' of Assam Health Minister's ULFA past". archive.indianexpress.com. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  45. ^ "Akhil sees Sarma hand in diary theft". The Times of India. 28 July 2010. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  46. ^ Pisharoty, Sangeeta Barooah (19 July 2017). "As Corruption Probe in Assam Slows, Questions Are Raised About Official Intentions". The Wire. Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  47. ^ Special Correspondence (11 July 2021). "Assam police on 'encounter spree', NHRC told". The Hindu. Retrieved 31 July 2021.

External linksEdit