Sonowal meets Governor, stakes claim; swearing-in on Tuesday

Guwahati: BJP's chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday met Assam Governor P.B. Acharya here and staked claim to forming the next government by his party and its allies in the state. The new government will be sworn in on Tuesday at the Veterinary College Ground at Khanapara. Sonowal was accompanied by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Ram Madhav, union minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora and Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) chief Hagrama Mohilary, among others. Sonowal handed over to the Governor a list of 60 BJP legislators who unanimously supported him as their leader in the house.  Similarly, the AGP and BPF leaders handed over letters of support to the BJP to form the government. The combined strength of the BJP, AGP and BPF is 86 in the 126-member house. Acharya later told the media that he had received the letters from the three parties regarding the formation of the new state government.  Earlier, newly-elected 60 BJP legislators held their first formal meeting at a city hotel and unanimously elected Sonowal as their leader.  BJP leader and Jalukbari MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma, who quit the Congress in 2015 to join the party, proposed Sonowal's for the post. Other legislators unanimously supported him. "The Assam people have not only given a historic mandate to the BJP but also given lots of responsibility. Everyone has to work together leaving aside petty and personal interests so that the people's expectations can be fulfilled," Sonowal said in his address to the legislators after the meeting. Sonowal said the BJP will take Assam to new heights of development in cooperation with its alliance partners.  He said he did not have any problem in working with senior AGP leader and former state chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. Later in the evening, Sonowal met three-time former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at his official residence in Koinadhara hills and invited him for the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday.