By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Aug 28: Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s “blue-eyed boy” Himanta Biswa Sarma today formally joined the BJP, publicly admitting he had committed a mistake by serving the Congress for 23 long years, a fact he realized, “after reading Vivekanda”.
Giving a tumultuous welcome to the Jalukbari MLA and three-time minister after he landed at the LGBI airport from Delhi – thousands of followers, many riding motorcycles and some in cars – escorted him to the State BJP’s headquarter at Hengerabari. Supporters who thronged the road to have a glimpse of the noisy cavalcade, greeted Sarma with flowers, garlands and gamosas as he traversed the city this afternoon on an open jeep.
Sarma, who was apologetic for the comments he had made against the BJP earlier, showered praises on Prime Minister rendra Modi at his maiden speech at the joining function.
Recalling Modi’s speech at Chicago, Sarma said, “He is a man whose aspiration is not to build the political career of his family members, but to make India a super power. He has a vision for the country, its youth. There is a connect between the wishes of the people and the ambition of Modiji…that is why he is so popular”
“When I was in the Congress, I had never heard any leader saying that he wants Assam to be in the top five developed states of the country. Here in BJP, a number of leaders have told me they have such a vision for the State,” Sarma said, donning a saffron cap.
Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal, MPs RP Sharma, Ramen Deka and MLA Manoranjan Das were conspicuous by their absence in today’s function, attended by over 4,000 party workers.
“Maybe it was fate that I had to be in the Congress for 23 years,” the former Congress strongman said.
He predicted that the Congress in the State is a sinking boat and it would not get more than 15 seats in the 2016 assembly elections.
Asked as to how many Congress legislators would join the BJP, Sarma said, “Six months back, I had given a list of 40 MLAs to the BJP leadership. It is up to the BJP leaders to decide who they want to take.”
BJP MLA Prashanta Phukan, however, indicated that fifteen more Congress MLAs would join the party within a fortnight.
On the repeated attacks by Akhil Gogoi, the Jalukbari MLA quipped, “He is a lucky mascot for me. The more press conferences Akhil Gogoi convenes, the more will the BJP be benefited. It was because of his yesterday’s press meet that we got so many people turning out for today’s rally.”
State BJP president Siddhartha Bhattacharjee said Himanta Biswa Sarma’s joining would give further boost to the party which is gaining ground fast. “People will filly get an altertive to the Congress in the next assembly elections.”
BJP general secretary and Assam in charge Mahendra Singh was also present at today’s function.