Union Minister Sonowal elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha
Union Minister and former Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was on Monday elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha from Assam.
Returning Officer declared Sonowal, the Union Ports, Shiping and Waterways and AYUSH Minister, elected to the Upper House of Parliament on the last day of withdrawal of nominations.
Accompanied by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP state President Bhabesh Kalita, Sonowal, 59, collected the wining certificate from the Assam Assembly secretariat on Monday afternoon.
The Congress and other opposition parties did not field any candidate against Sonowal, who was the common candidate of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies -- the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL). With Sonowal's victory, the strength of the ruling BJP in the Rajya Sabha from Assam increased to three, while its ally AGP has one member in the upper house.
Thanking the central BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, national President J.P. Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister, for their support to him, Sonowal said that he would continue to strive for the development of the state and betterment of the people.
Sonowal was Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs for two years in the first Modi government before coming back to the state politics and heading the first-ever BJP led government in Assam from 2016 to 2021.
The Rajya Sabha seat fell vacant after current Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary resigned from the upper house after his election to the Assembly in March-April polls. Sonowal was elected to the Assembly from Majuli for the second consecutive term, but, in July, inducted into the Modi ministry.
After Sonowal's election to the Rajya Sabha, the BJP's strength in the 126-member Assembly has come down to 59. However, allies AGP and UPPL have nine and five seats, respectively.
The number of vacant seats in the Assembly will increase to six, as earlier, two Congress and one AIUDF MLAs resigned to join the BJP, while two UPPL members died due to Covid-19.