The own image of the Chief Minister and the grassroots coordination of the President of the State Party were also factors.
The polling strategy of Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is believed to have paid off for the BJP and its allies for the second time in a row.
The clear image of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the grassroots coordination of BJP State President Ranjeet Kumar Dass, given the long run of the party leadership, were also factors. The three won their respective seats – Jalukbari, Majuli and Patacharkuchi – comfortably.
Fallout with former chief minister Tarun Gogoi forced Dr Sarma to quit Congress and join the BJP in 2015. The Saffron party was quick to let him guide the 2016 election campaign after nine of its faithful to Congress followed him to the BJP.
Dr Sarma was almost perfect with his predictions for 2016. The BJP won 60 of the 61 seats as he predicted and formed the government in alliance with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland Popular Front ( BPF), which won 14 and 12 seats respectively.
His prediction for the BJP-led alliance this time around was irrelevant; it went from “100+” to “about 85”. But the under-80 tally hasn’t hurt his stature as the face of BJP in the Northeast. The fact that the majority of the candidates put forward by the BJP this time around were its loyalists underscored its growing influence. He had his say in the allocation of seats to the allies of the AGP and the United People’s Liberal Party.
There is now speculation that he could be appointed chief minister for his contribution to the party’s victory, with Mr Sonowal being given a large portfolio at the Center.
The chief minister and Mr. Dass left the matter to the “wisdom” of the central party leadership, although party insiders said the defeat in West Bengal could prompt the BJP to continue with Mr. Sonowal for the highest position.
Dr Sarma chose to downplay the issue after winning the Jalukbari seat for the fifth time in a row, beating his closest rival in Congress by 1.01,911 votes. “It is my privilege to serve Jalukbari. I am grateful to the people of the riding, ”he said.
A spokesperson for the BJP also credited Mr. Dass for the party’s ability to win as many seats as in 2016. “The impact of its grassroots networks down to the community and neighborhood level cannot be ignored “, did he declare.