Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Minister of AYUSH and former Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Tuesday filed his nomination for the vacant Rajya Sabha seat in the state, the election for which is slated for October 4.
Present with him were chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, minister Atul Bora (AGP), BJP state president Bhabesh Kalita and United People’s Party Liberal president Pramod Bodo. The AGP and the UPPL are part of the ruling alliance.
Sonowal had won the last assembly election from Majuli. He was subsequently inducted in the union cabinet in July necessitating his election from the Rajya Sabha. This seat was vacated by Biswajit Daimary, assembly speaker, who contested the last assembly election on a BJP ticket after switching from the Bodoland People’s Front.
We've immensely gained from vision & leadership of Union Min Sri @sarbanandsonwal. I accompanied him for filing of his nomination for Rajya Sabha seat. He is a unanimous candidate of BJP, AGP and UPPL and many esteemed leaders joined Sonowal Dangoriya today.@JPNadda @BJP4India pic.twitter.com/yxytufup8W— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 21, 2021
Speaking to reporters later, Sarma said the alliance partners had extended their support to Sonowal. He also thanked the opposition for their cooperation by not putting up any candidate. “I also congratulate Sonowal and hope that as union minister he will work for the development of the state,” he said.
The Congress, which is the main opposition party, has decided to give the Rajya Sabha election a miss with numbers not on its side. The BJP-led alliance had won 75 of the 126 assembly seats in the April-May elections while the opposition Congress and its allies had won 50 seats and an Independent one. Since then two Congress MLAS have resigned from the party and the assembly to join the BJP.
Assam will have by-elections to six assembly seats. Of the six, three fell vacant after the two Congress and an AIUDF MLA resigned to join the BJP and two others – one from BPF and the other from UPPL – died.
“Our focus is now on the upcoming by-elections,” said a Congress leader. “We are hoping to regain the two seats which we had won,” he said referring to the Mariani and Thowra seats in upper Assam which were vacated by Rup Jyoti Kurmi and Sushanta Borgohain respectively.