Sarbananda Sonowal

From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia

Sarbananda Sonowal
Chief Minister of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal.jpg
Official Portrait, 2017
Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways
Assumed office
7 July 2021
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byMansukh L. Mandaviya
Minister of AYUSH
Assumed office
7 July 2021
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byShripad Naik
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
Assumed office
1 October 2021
Preceded byBiswajit Daimary[1]
Member of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs
Assumed office
12 July 2021
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
14th Chief Minister of Assam
In office
24 May 2016 – 10 May 2021
GovernorPadmanabha Acharya
Banwarilal Purohit
Jagdish Mukhi
Preceded byTarun Gogoi
Succeeded byHimanta Biswa Sarma
Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports
In office
26 May 2014 – 23 May 2016[2]
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byJitendra Singh
Succeeded byDr. Jitendra Singh
Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and Skill Development
In office
26 May 2014 – 9 November 2014
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byRajiv Pratap Rudy
Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
In office
16 May 2014 – 23 May 2016
Preceded byRanee Narah
Succeeded byPradan Baruah
In office
13 May 2004 – 15 May 2009
Preceded byPaban Singh Ghatowar
Succeeded byPaban Singh Ghatowar
Member of Vidhan Sabha, Assam
In office
19 May 2016 – 28 September 2021
Preceded byRajib Lochan Pegu
Succeeded byBhuban Gam
In office
Preceded byJoy Chandra Nagbanshi
Succeeded byJibantara Ghatowar
President of Bhartiya Janata Party, Assam
In office
Preceded byRanjit Dutta
Succeeded bySiddhartha Bhattacharya
In office
Preceded bySiddhartha Bhattacharya
Succeeded byRanjeet Kumar Dass
Personal details
Born (1962-10-31) 31 October 1962 (age 61)
Mulukgaon, Dibrugarh district, Assam, India
Political partyBharatiya Janata Party (2011-present)
Other political
Asom Gana Parishad (2001-11)
Parent(s)Jibeswar Sonowal (Father)
Dineswari Sonowal (Mother)
Residence29, Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla Lane, New Delhi
Alma mater

Sarbananda Sonowal (Assamese: সৰ্বানন্দ সোণোৱাল / IPA: xɔɹbanɔndɔ xʊnʊwal, Born: 31 October 1962)[3] is an Indian politician from Assam[4] who is the current Cabinet Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Cabinet Minister of AYUSH in the Government of India.[5] He is a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of India's Parliament) from Assam[6] and also a member of the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs.[7] He is a former Chief Minister of Assam and a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (India) in Assam Legislative Assembly. Sonowal earlier served as the Assam state President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from 2012 to 2014 and again in 2015 to 2016.[8] He has also served as the Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs, Government of India, from 2014 to 2016. He was chosen to be the Chief Minister of Assam after the 2016 Assam Legislative Assembly election and he became the first Chief Minister of Assam from Bharatiya Janata Party.[9][10] During the cabinet reshuffle on 7 July 2021, he was inducted Cabinet minister in the 2nd Modi Cabinet.[11]

Early life and education

Sarbananda Sonowal was born on 31 October 1962 to a Assamese Hindu family in Muluk Gaon located in the Dibrugarh district of Assam to Jibeswar Sonowal (father) and Dineswari Sonowal (mother). He completed his B.A.(Hons) in English from Dibrugarh Hanumanbax Surajmall Kanoi College under Dibrugarh University and his LLB and B.C.J from Gauhati University.[3]

Political career

Sarbananda Sonowal was the President of Assam's oldest student body, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) from 1992 to 1999. After that, he became a member of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). In 2001, he was elected as the MLA from Moran constituency of Assam. In 2004, he became a Lok Sabha member representing theDibrugarh constituency.[12] He lost Lok Sabha election from Dibrugarh in 2009. He joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2011.[12]

He was appointed president of BJP's Assam Unit in 2012 and is also a member of the party's National Executive. In the 2014 general election for Lok Sabha he was appointed to head Assam State's Lok Sabha Elections by BJP, and in the same year he was also elected as Member of Parliament, 16th Lok Sabha, from Lakhimpur Constituency.[12] He was then appointed as Union Minister of State-Independent Charge, of the Government of India under the Modi Government at the center.

The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee administering the oath as Minister of State (Independent Charge) to Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, at a Swearing-in Ceremony, at Rashtrapati Bhavan, in New Delhi on May 26, 2014

He was selected as the CM candidate of BJP for the 2016 Assam Assembly Election. On 19 May 2016, Sarbananda Sonowal won the Assembly Election from Majuli Constituency, and he became Chief Minister of Assam, the first CM of the state from Bharatiya Janata Party. In 2021 he was re-elected to Assam Vidhan Sabha from Majuli. He resigned as Chief Minister and proposed Himanta Biswa Sarma's name as his successor. He became Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Minister of AYUSH in Second Modi ministry when cabinet overhaul happened.[13]

Personal life

Sarbananda Sonowal resigned from all executive posts within AGP and left the party, due to dissatisfaction with and amongst the senior leadership of the party who were trying to forge an alliance with a party that was against the scrapping of the controversial IMDT Act.[14] On 8 February 2011, Sonowal joined BJP in the presence of the then BJP National President Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders like Varun Gandhi, Vijay Goel, Bijoya Chakravarty and state BJP president Ranjit Dutta. He was immediately appointed as a member of the BJP National Executive and later on the State Spokesperson of the BJP unit, prior to his current assignment to head the state as the new president. On 28 January 2016, BJP Parliamentary Board announced Sarbananda Sonowal as BJP Chief Ministerial candidate of Assam.[15] He is not married.[16]

Positions held

Social and cultural activities

Arts & culture

GIFF Sarbananda Sonowal Chief Minister of Assam.jpg

The annual Guwahati International Film Festival was started during his tenure. It is organised by the State Government-owned Jyoti Chitraban (Film Studio) Society in association with the Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Regional Government Film and Television Institute. The first edition was held in Oct 2018. The second, in Oct-Nov 2019. The 3rd edition has been postponed owing to the present COVID-19 pandemic to early 2021.

Role removing the IMDT Act

Faced with the problem of massive migration from Bangladesh into Assam, the government tried to put up legislation in place to detect and deport foreign nationals. Eventually, the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 (IMDT Act) came into being following the Assam Accord signed between the Government of India and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to end the decade-long anti-foreigner agitation.

The IMDT Act is an instrument passed by Indian Parliament to detect illegal immigrants (from Bangladesh) and expel them from Assam. While the IMDT Act operates only in Assam, the Foreigners Act (1946) applies to the rest of the country. It is applicable to those Bangladeshi nationals who settled in Assam on or after 25 March 1971. Under the Act, the onus of proving the citizenship of a suspected illegal alien rests on the complainant, often the police. On the other hand, according to the provisions of the Foreigners Act, the onus lies with the person suspected to be an alien.

Sonowal took the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration to the Supreme Court. By its judgement dated 12 July 2005, the court struck down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983, as unconstitutional and termed Bangladeshi infiltration an "external aggression" and directed that "the Bangladesh nationals who have illegally crossed the border and have trespassed into Assam or are living in other parts of the country have no legal right of any kind to remain in India and they are liable to be deported."[19]

See also


  1. Hemanta Kumar Nath (28 September 2021). "Day after election to Rajya Sabha, Sarbananda Sonowal resigns from Assam Assembly". India Today.
  2. PTI (22 May 2016). "Sarbananda Sonowal resigns as Union Minister". The Financial Express. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Chief Minister of Assam". Assam Legislative Assembly.
  4. "'Jatir Nayak' Sarbananda Sonowal: Ex-Assam CM Begins New Innings in Modi Cabinet as Shipping Minister". News18. 8 July 2021.
  5. Harshita Tyagi (7 July 2021). "Sarbananda Sonowal gets charge of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Ministry". Times Now.
  6. "Sarbananda Sonowal, L Murugan Take Oath As Rajya Sabha Members". NDTV. 1 October 2021.
  7. "Irani, Sonowal named for Cabinet committee on political affairs in rejig". Business Standard. 13 July 2021.
  8. "Sarbananda Sonowal: A profile". The Hindu. 3 April 2016.
  9. "Portfolios of the Union Council of Ministers". PM India. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  10. "Ballotin: Eye on Dispur". 16 March 2016.
  11. "Former Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal takes oath as Union minister in PM Modi's Cabinet | India News-Times of India". The Times of India. ANI. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 "Sarbananda Sonowal". The Indian Express. 18 December 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2021.
  13. "Modi cabinet rejig: Full list of new ministers". India Today. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  14. Moushumi Saikia (24 February 2018). "Assam influx: Scrapping of IMDT Act brought AIUDF's Badruddin Ajmal into politics as saviour of minorities". Firstpost.
  15. "BJP departs from practice, names Sarbananda Sonowal as Assam CM candidate". The Economic Times. 28 January 2016.
  16. "Yogi Adityanath is new entrant to India's bachelor chief ministers' club". India Today. 19 March 2017.
  17. "Minister of State (Independent Charge): Sarbananda Sonowal". NDTV. 27 May 2014.
  18. "Ahead of Assam elections, BJP names Sarbananda Sonowal as CM candidate - Firstpost". 28 January 2016.
  19. "Promising Assam Leader Sarbananda Sonowal in Cabinet". Retrieved 6 June 2014.

External links