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People of Assam see BJP as the only option: Minister
Rupesh Dutta
People of Assam see BJP as the only option: Minister
PHOTO : TIWN File Photo : Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs, Sarbanandan Sonowal arrives at Rabindra Bhawan to inaugurate the exhibition organised by DAVP

​ Newly-appointed Assam BJP unit chief and union minister Sarbananda Sonowal has said the people of Assam see his party as the only option for fast development of the state as they have already tried other parties, including the Congress.

"The people of Assam have firm faith in the BJP as they know that only our party is capable of transforming the state and ensuring speedy development. The people of Assam have already tried all other parties, including the Congress and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and are feeling betrayed," Sonowal, 53, told IANS in a telephonic interview from Dibrugarh.

The union sports minister was on Saturday appointed Bharatiya Janata Party's Assam unit chief.

Sonowal also accused the Tarun Gogoi government in the state of "fooling people" and "misusing funds".

"Governments formed by the Congress or the AGP have not been successful in making any visible changes in the lives of Assam people," he said.

Asked what would be the BJP strategy in the state under his leadership, Sonowal said it would be chalked out after getting a feedback from a large cross-section of people.

"We will take feedback from people and proceed on our goal of replacing the Congress in power (in the state) and ending its misrule."

Sonowal's appointment came months before the crucial assembly polls in the state where the BJP wants to make a determined bid to come to power after its debacle in Bihar and Delhi assembly polls.

Sonowal's appointment is also seen as change in strategy on the part of the BJP which did not project a chief ministerial candidate in Bihar. In Delhi, it projected former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate close to the polls.

Sonowal, who was the Assam BJP chief when the party won seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 elections, has also been appointed the election management chief by the party for the assembly polls. The term of Assam assembly ends in June next year.

Soon after its victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP announced 'Mission 84' for Assam, setting a target of winning at least 84 of the 126 assembly seats in the state.

Sonowal, who was chief of the All Assam Student Union (AASU) in mid-90s, said the BJP's position in the state has improved with the performance of the Narendra Modi government.

"Under the leadership of our prime minister, people of Assam have developed a firm belief that only the BJP can bring about a change. People will vote to form a BJP government in the state," he said.

Assam BJP leaders said that the party will launch its campaign in the state on November 27 with a rally by BJP's national president Amit Shah.

Sonowal sought to sidetrack a query about possible benefit to the BJP in Assam with the deportation of United Liberation Front of Assam leader Anup Chetia.

"Anup Chetia can play a very important role in the peace process and dialogue; it is very significant and can change the rules of the negotiations," he said.

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