Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today turned 53. Here’s wishing the dynamic leader of Assam a very happy birthday. You see, Himanta Biswa Sarma deserved a dedicated article on his birthday, because he is the best thing to have happened to the North-eastern state of Assam in a very long time. Born on February 1, 1969, Himanta Biswa Sarma’s journey has spanned from being a student activist – and quite a vociferous one at that, to today being at the helm of affairs of Northeast India’s most important state – Assam. From 1991 to 2015; Himanta Biswa Sarma was a Congress leader.
But in 2015, he jumped ship to the BJP – in an event that would mark the beginning of the end for Congress’ fortunes in Northeast India, a region which has historically been defined as a fortress of the Grand Old Party. One man is responsible for the Congress’ ruination not just in Assam, but across Northeast India, and that man is Himanta Biswa Sarma, lovingly referred to by the people of Assam as ‘Mama’.
Himanta Biswa Sarma – Assam’s Irreplaceable Asset
Himanta Biswa Sarma is yet to complete one year in office as chief minister of Assam, but he has numerous achievements to account for already. Some chief ministers cannot account for delivering so much to the people of their state even after completing five years in office. Himanta, on the other hand, has been working at a breakneck pace to make Assam among the best-performing states of India.
Within months of taking over as chief minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma endorsed a zero-tolerance approach to crime against women, ensured that law keepers are well-equipped and masters at error-free chargesheet writing, among other things. Based on these reasons, he said that shooting at criminals ‘should be the pattern’, if they try to escape from custody or if they snatch arms from the police. Evidently, in matters of law enforcement and bringing the crime rate down, Sarma has adopted Yogi Adityanath’s UP police model for Assam.
Today, Assam has been turned into a cattle and cow-friendly state, where cattle smuggling is not spared. According to the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021, the slaughter, consumption, and illegal transportation of cattle in Assam has been regulated. Himanta Biswa Sarma is on record as saying that the legislation would ban the movement of cattle from Assam and will check smuggling to Bangladesh, which is a rampant issue in the northeast. The Chief Minister was also very clear that beef should not be consumed in areas where Hindus live and where the cow is worshipped.
In line with the same, no sale or purchase of beef can take place in a radius of 5 kilometres from Hindu, Jain or Sikh Temples in Assam any longer, courtesy Himanta Biswa Sarma.
And then, Himanta Biswa Sarma is working tirelessly to free land in Assam from illegal encroachments. The land-Jihad being propagated by Islamists by using illegal Bangladeshis has met fierce opposition in recent times. Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has been at the forefront of this battle and has freed large swathes of land from illegal encroachment by Bangladeshi infiltrators.
Soon after taking over as Assam’s chief minister last year, Himanta Biswa Sarma vowed that his government would bring all insurgent groups to the mainstream within the next five years, as he appealed to Paresh Baruah and other ULFA members to join the peace process. The chief minister is working towards establishing lasting peace in Assam, and it was a result of his efforts that ULFA decided not to boycott the Republic Day celebrations this year. Neither did it do so during last year’s Independence Day celebrations, as Assam under the leadership of Sarma, celebrated these national festivals without a bandh for the first time in many years.
In 2021, Assam organized an exceptional event for burning all the collected horns of one-horned rhinos. Through this event, the state government presented a message for the poachers that there is no medical significance associated with these horns. Himanta Biswa Sarma has directed forest officials to take an effective lookout for the preservation of animals. Due to the efforts of the chief minister, Assam has reached a milestone by recording the lowest rate of rhino poaching in the last 21 years.
Importantly, ever since Himanta Biswa Sarma took over as chief minister of Assam, there had been great hopes that the issue of border disputes between Meghalaya and Assam would finally be resolved. Now, fast-paced developments are taking place on this front, and both Sarma and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma are said to have reached an agreement to settle the disputes by means of a land-swap agreement.
Meanwhile, everyone has watched the video clip of Sarma scolding Nagaon’s Deputy Commissioner for halting traffic and inconveniencing the public because the chief minister’s convoy was passing by. Himanta is therefore leading the crusade against VVIP culture in Assam himself.
Himanta Biswa Sarma is ensuring holistic development of Assam, while also working towards ensuring peace in Northeast India as a whole. And all of this has been done in less than a year of him assuming the role of chief minister. Given the pace at which Sarma is working, he will surely change the face of Assam by 2026.