Mr Sarma was earlier with the Congress and switched sides in 2015, allegedly after a rift with the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi. It was a bitter parting with Mr Sarma who accused now Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of preferring to play with his pet rather than grant audience to unhappy partymen from Assam who flew down to Delhi to meet him.
Born in Assam's Jorhat, Himanta Biswa Sharma, 49, entered the poll fray in 2001 from Assam's Jalukbari constituency and got re-elected in 2006 and 2011 as member of the Congress party. During this time, he held important and diverse portfolios - agriculture, planning and development, finance, health and education. Healthcare got a major boost under his leadership with opening of three medical colleges in Jorhat, Barpeta and Tezpur. He also initiated work for five more medical colleges in Diphu, Nagaon, Dhubri, North Lakhimpur and Kokrajhar. He was also lauded for bringing transparency in the appointment of teachers through a Teachers Eligibility Test.
The 48-year-old Assam minister has been credited with the upturn in BJP fortunes in the north-east.
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