NEW DELHI, Jan 28 - The BJP today declared Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal its chief ministerial candidate for the Assam Assembly polls, making a departure from its usual practice of not naming a leader for State elections.
The BJP parliamentary board made the decision in an hour-long meeting attended among others by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah, its general secretary JP Nadda told reporters.
�The people of Assam know Sarbananda Sonowal as a �national hero�. The parliamentary board has decided that the party will fight the Assam polls in his leadership... The BJP is going to form its government in Assam,� Nadda, accompanied by party�s national secretary Shrikant Sharma, said.
The decision reflects a strategic shift in the party�s approach to contesting State Assembly elections after ignoring State leadership and excessive focus on central leaders was blamed by many for its debacle in Bihar polls.
Barring the Delhi Assembly polls, during which it had inducted Kiran Bedi into the party at the last minute and made her the chief ministerial candidate, the BJP has not named a leader for State elections and instead sought votes in Modi�s name after he emerged as its preeminent leader and Shah took over as its president.
Asked if the party will name chief ministerial candidates for other poll-bound States as well, Nadda said the issue was not deliberated upon today and a decision will be taken later.
Sonowal (53) currently holds independent charge of Sports and Youth Affairs Ministry. Sonowal was All Assam Students� Union�s president and AGP leader before joining BJP in 2011. He headed the party�s Assam unit before he was made a minister in the Narendra Modi government. � PTI