Amidst a galaxy of politicians, spiritual leaders and euphoric supporters, Sonowal pledges an Assam free from foreigners, corruption and pollution
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, May 24: Sarbanda Sonowal, heading the first BJP-led alliance government in the Northeast, was on Tuesday sworn in as Assam Chief Minister at a massive public meeting that was also attended by Prime Minister rendra Modi, his senior cabinet and party colleagues, chief ministers of thirteen states, spiritual leaders and over one lakh euphoric supporters.
Sonowal, 53, took the oath along with Himanta Biswa Sarma, the former Congress strongman who crossed over to the Bharatiya Jata Party (BJP) last year and is largely credited for its huge electoral victory that dislodged Congress which ruled the State for three consecutive terms.
Assam Governor PB Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to Sonowal, formerly a Union Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, and his council of ministers.
Leaders who took oath as cabinet ministers included BJP's Parimal Suklabaidya, Chandra Mohan Patowary and Ranjit Dutta.
Atul Bora and Keshav Mahanta from the Asom Ga Parishad (AGP), Pramila Rani Brahma and Rihan Daimary of the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) also took oath as cabinet ministers.
Two BJP legislators - ba Doley and Pallab Lochan Das - were sworn-in as minister of state with independent charges. Sonowal will expand the cabinet at a later date.
The ceremony, also attended by BJP president Amit Shah and veteran leader LK Advani, was held at the sprawling Khapara playfield in the city that was turned saffron with BJP flags fluttering all over.
Veteran BJP leader LK Advani, BJP tiol president Amit Shah, chief ministers of all 13 NDA led States and 14 union ministers were among over 100 dignitaries who attended the function.
Several spiritual leaders, including chiefs of Vaishvite mosteries, also attended the ceremony.
Over 30 members of Parliament from different States were also present. Chief ministers of other northeastern states also participated.
This is the first time since 1985 that a government was sworn in at an open field.
The AGP government, formed at the end of the six year long Assam Agitation, in 1985 had taken oath at the historic Judges Field, while all governments since then have taken charge at the Durbar Hall in the Raj Bhawan here.
Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who headed the state for 15 years before Sonowal dethroned him, also attended the gala event.
Most of the leaders, including Sonowal, took the oath in Assamese. But BPF leaders Pramila Rani Brahma and Rihon Daimary took the oath in their tive Bodo language. Parimal Shuklabaidya took the oath in Bengali.
Sonowal, in his brief speech, vowed to work to keep intact the pluralistic ture of Assamese society.
He urged all sections to extend cooperation to the new government to translate into reality the dreams and aspirations of the people.
"We urge people's support to free the State from foreigners, corruption and pollution," he said.