- BJP declared first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls on Thursday
- Himanta Biswa Sarma will work to strengthen BJP in the northeast
- Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam's Finance Minister, accepted the decision
Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP's main troubleshooter in the northeast, will not contest the Lok Sabha elections from Assam because of his responsibilities in the region, the BJP said on Thursday. The announcement was made by party chief Amit Shah on Twitter as the BJP declared its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha polls.
"Keeping in mind the responsibility of NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance) chairman and development of the entire north-east region, the central leadership has urged him to focus on his current responsibilities and contribute to making the party stronger in Assam and northeast," Mr Shah tweeted in Hindi.
"I hope that Assam BJP and the entire northeast will accept this decision of the party. I am confident that this decision will take Assam and the entire northeast towards the direction of development," he said.
Mr Sarma is currently not only Assam's Finance Minister but also heads the NEDA, a coalition that was formed in 2016.
The BJP chief said that Mr Sarma's candidature was recommended by the election committee of the party's Assam unit and workers unanimously for the Lok Sabha election.
The leader has accepted the decision.
"Respected Amit Shah ji, I am thankful to you for the trust you have shown in me. I humbly accept your decision. At a time when the country is enthusiastic about making Narendra Modi--who made the country proud-- the prime minister again, the northeast will not disappoint you," Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted.
NDTV had reported on Monday that his name was dropped from the list of probable candidates to ensure that he is free to campaign for the party across the northeast without being restricted to any single constituency.
Party sources said the decision to drop Mr Sarma's name was taken at the highest level, considering that he is the BJP's point person for the northeast. He had initially been allotted Tezpur constituency with the consent of BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav. However, that changed when RP Sarmah - incumbent Tezpur parliamentarian and senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh functionary - resigned from the party for dropping him. Sources said the matter was brought to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.
Assam's 14 constituencies will see polling in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23.
Mr Shah's statement came after the BJP on Thursday evening released the list of 184 candidates for the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, which start from April 11 in seven phases, concluding on May 19. Results will be declared on May 23.