Sarbananda Sonowal, chief minister and BJP leader
Sarbananda Sonowal was president of the All Assam Students Union from 1992 to 1999. In 2001 he was elected MLA on an Asom Gana Parishad ticket, representing Moran. Three years later he entered Parliament representing Dibrugarh. He continued to represent the constituency in the Lok Sabha till 2009. In 2011 Sonowal joined the BJP in the presence of senior party leaders, including national president Nitin Gadkari.
In 2014 Sonowal was elected MP from Lakhimpur. He was appointed Union minister of state-independent charge in the Modi government.
Sonowal was selected as the chief ministerial candidate of the BJP for the 2016 assembly election. On May 29, 2016, he won from Majuli constituency and later took oath as the 14th chief minister of Assam.
Sarbananda Sonowal was born on October 31, 1962, in Muluk Gaon in Dibrugarh district. He did BA (Hons) in English from Dibrugaarh Hanumanbax Surajmall Kanoi College under Dibrugarah University and LLB from Gauhati University.
Himanta Biswas Sarma, four-time MLA
Himanta Biswas Sarma has been an MLA for four consecutive terms and held important portfolios in the state government. He was elected to the assembly, on a Congress ticket, from Jalukbari for the first time in 2001, and re-elected in 2006 and 2011.
Sarma joined the BJP on August 23, 2015, at Amit Shah’s residence in New Delhi. He was appointed convener of the BJP’s election management committee for the 2016 assembly elections. Subsequently, he won the elections and became a cabinet minister in the first BJP government in the Northeast.
Sarma was born on February 1, 1969, in Gandhi Basti, Ulubari, Guwahati. He did his post-graduation in political science in 1992 from Cotton College, Guwahati and LLB from Government Law College, Guwahati. He also has a PhD degree from Gauhati University. He practised law at Gauhati High Court from 1996 to 2001.
Gaurav Gogoi, Congress leader and MP
Son of Congress stalwart Tarun Gogoi, the longest serving chief minister of Assam, Gaurav joined the Grand Old Party in 2014. He is the MP for Kaliabor.
Gaurav was born in 1982. He graduated from St Columba’s School in Delhi and completed B Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering in 2004 from Indraprastha Univeristy. He worked for Airtel before going to the US to study public administration. He holds a master of public administration from New York University.
Lurinjyoti Gogoi was born to a humble family in Tinsukia district’s Laipuli. He got actively involved with the All Assam Students’ Union – the group that led the anti-‘foreigners’ Assam agitation of the early 1980s – while studying at Dibrugarh University. In November 2020, Gogoi resigned as general secretary of the AASU and took the plunge into electoral politics. He is one of the key faces of resistance to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
As president of the newly formed Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP), Lurinjyoti is the face of the ‘third front’, fighting the Congress and BJP on the plank of regionalism. He contested from Duliajan and Naharkatia constituencies. The AJP fought the election in alliance with Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dol.
Badruddin Ajmal, businessman and founder of AIUDF
Badruddin Ajmal, from Hojai, in Assam, is the founder of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), a three-time MP and an Islamic theologian. He is also a perfume mogul. His family’s flagship company, Ajmal Perfumes is headquartered in Dubai, with 270 showrooms spread across the Middle East.
Badruddin burst on to the political scene in 2006 when his AIUDF sent 10 MLAs to the assembly. In the 2011 election the party’s tally went up to 18 before slipping to 13 in 2016.
AIUDF is a member of the Congress-led Mahajot (grand alliance) and the main target of the BJP, which accuses the party of being sympathetic to Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. The saffron party has constantly painted his as a threat to Assamese identity.