In the final days of hectic campaigning for first phase polls in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma is campaigning atleast 16 hours a day non-stop. The 52-year-old BJP leader’s campaigns have perhaps over shadowed all Assam politicians both in his party, allies and even in the opposition.
“We are all army of Narendra Modi. We engage to take PM Modi’s message to grassroot,” Mr Sarma told NDTV during an hour-long padyatra in upper Assam’s Dibrugarh last Saturday.
But party insiders say his campaign is making most of the difference. “Many star campaigners are coming its good, but like me, many candidates are more hopeful about Mr Sarma’s campaign. There is a craze about him,” a BJP candidate from upper Assam who did not wanted to be named told NDTV.
This time Mr Sarma’s connect with people has been unparalleled. His campaign song ‘Ahise Himanta Ahise’ ( Himanta has arrived) has already gone viral.
In every padyatra or walk march, the elderly are blessing him, the young ones wanting a selfie with their beloved Mama (maternal uncle) as he is fondly called by youngster.
For his loyalist he is always dada (elder brother). Hundreds of them followed Mr Sarma as he walked out of Congress in 2015.
Cycle/ bike rallies, road shows, public meetings and padyatras are a daily affair, Mr Swarma’s team said.
“I feel so happy when people turn out in large to bless me,” Mr Sarma added.
And the show stopper – his signature dance move to BJP poll songs.
Constant touch with people, just like his political mentor late former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, is his mantra it seems.
On March 19 when he filed his nominations for the Jalukbari constituency that he has represented for last 20 years, a massive crowd of supporter had brought Guwahati to stand still for few hours.
“Because he has done a lot for the youth he lives in our hearts. He did a lot for the students even when he was a minister in the Congress government. He led the fight against Covid from the front and Assam is seen as one of the best models of Covid management, this is because he is hands on,” Barnali Das, a young BJP supporter form Guwahati.
Mr Sarma also has a huge say in party ticket distribution, party insiders say. He also played a huge role to ensure most of the MLAs who did not get tickets leave party, they said.
Mr Sarma’s supporters compare him with former Team India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was known for his composure.
” Himanta Sarma is like MSD. He is cool, calculative and has aggression like MSD pulls victory out of thin air and has mass popularity,” BJP supporter and social media influencer Dr Bhaskar Gogoi said.
Many say apart from development agenda, clean image of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and aggressive campaign by PM Modi and Amit Shah, Mr Sarma is a key factor that gives BJP the edge.
Read More: India News