He was magnanimity personified.
For instance, on the defeat of AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi in two seats, he said that the former had a bright future and should continue in politics. Lurinjyoti has been at the forefront of the protests againt the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“It is not easy for a party to perform in three months, but he has a bright future and should continue in politics,” he told reporters who surrounded him as he stepped out of his house on his way to pick up the winning certificate.
Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma won the Jalukbari seat by a margin over over a lakh votes surpassing the margin in 2016 by about 20,000 votes.
He also welcomed Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi for winning from Sivasagar.
“I welcome him. I only hope he will abide by the Constitution and desist from burning tyres on the road in protest… he should learn from people like George Fernandes or Gauri Shankar Bhattacharyya, Sarma said.
Akhil has been in jail since the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 that had resulted in the death of five protesters in police firing and has otherwise been a thorn in the government’s side.
Asked about the defeat of Assam PCC president Ripun Bora from Gohpur, Sarma said it was not the time to discuss defeats.
“Those who have lost are hurt and disappointed, it is not the time to rub it in further, people do lose and win in elections,” he said.
On who will be the chief minister since the BJP had not projected anyone for the post, Sarma said it was for the party’s parliamentary board to decide.
“That is not my jurisdiction. Besides, let the entire exercise be over first,” he said, adding that the swearing-in will take place at an auspicious moment after everything is settled.
Accepting the Opposition had done reasonably well, Sarma said that a strong Opposition was good for democracy. “But they should not only focus on appeasement,” he said.
In the outgoing Assembly, the Opposition strength is 39 (Congress 26, AIUDF 13) against the ruling alliance’s number of 86. This time the margin is expected to shrink with the BJP alliance likely to end up with 74 seats and the Opposition 51.
He said that he had initially expected the party would get more than 80 seats, but as electioneering progressed he realised there was polarisation on the ground and scaled down the number between 75 and 80.
“It was a vote for culture, civilisation and development,” he said. “People have endorsed the politics of development,” he said.
All through the few minutes with the media, it was a different Himanta Biswa Sarma. The conduct was becoming of a chief minister.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine