Govt formation in Assam to be delayed over choice of CM

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Guwahati, May 5 (IANS) Amidst continuing uncertainty over who would be the next Assam Chief Minister, a top leader of the ruling BJP on Wednesday said that the government formation process would take a couple of days as the central leadership, including party President J.P. Nadda are busy in dealing with the post-poll violence in West Bengal.
The senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader said that the central leadership including Nadda, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and BJP’s national Vice-President Baijayant Jay Panda are expected in Guwahati soon to decide the leader of the legislature party who will become the next Chief Minister.
Some newly-elected MLAs since Tuesday separately met both Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has emerged as a contender for the top post.
The BJP, before the three-phase Assam Assembly election, did not project any one as the Chief Ministerial candidate and instead, said that the matter would be finalised by the party’s parliamentary board after the elections. The ruling BJP-led alliance, which returned to power in Assam for the second consecutive term, secured 11 seats less than the 2016 Assembly polls.
The BJP, the dominant partner of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), bagged 60 seats, similar to what it got five years ago. The NDA or the “Mitrajot” went on to finally win 75 seats in the 126-member Assembly.
BJP’s old ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) won nine seats against 14 seats that it won last time while its new partner, United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) won six seats as the Bodoland-based party made its Assembly election debut.
In the opposition, the Congress, which governed Assam for 15 years (2001-2016), managed 29 seats, three seats more than the last elections, when the party lost Assam to the BJP. Other partners of the Congress-led “Mahajot” (grand alliance) – the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) won 16 seats up from 13 last time, Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) got four seats against 12 seats in previous polls and the Communist Party of India-Marxist won just one seat.
Raijor Dal President and jailed leader Akhil Gogoi, who contested from Sibasagar constituency as an independent candidate, also won by defeating BJP candidate Surabhi Rajkonwari by a margin of 11,875 votes.
Meanwhile, the new AIUDF legislators on Wednesday unanimously elected General Secretary Hafiz Bashir Ahmed as the leader of its legislature party and Aminul Islam as the deputy leader. An AIUDF statement said that Hafiz Rafiqul Islam and Phanidhar Talukder were also elected as the chief whip and the secretary of the legislature party, respectively, at the meeting presided over by AIUDF President and Lok Sabha Member Badruddin Ajmal.
The newly-elected MLAs of the main opposition Congress held a meeting in Guwahati on Monday and the decision about the leadership has been left to the discretion of Congress President.
Assam Assembly sources said that the term of the 14th Legislative Assembly would expire on May 31 and the new house has to be constituted before that.

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