Senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma arrives for a meeting in Delhi
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma had separate meetings with party chief JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Saturday, as suspense builds over the identity of the state's new Chief Minister.
Mr Sarma, who is the Health Minister and the BJP's troubleshooter in the northeast, was the first to reach Mr Nadda's residence. Sources told news agency PTI the two were joined by BJP General Secretary BL Santhosh and, later, Amit Shah. Their meeting lasted for an hour, after which he left.
Sarbananda Sonowal, the current chief minister, arrived shortly afterwards.
Both Mr Sonowal and Mr Sarma were summoned for face-to-face talks to discuss the leadership issue; the party is keen to avoid factionalism, as a result of its choice, in Assam, sources said.
Mr Sonowal and Mr Sarma left Guwahati on Friday night but on separate planes.
Choosing between Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Sarma will be a tough choice for the BJP.
Mr Sonowal, who belongs to Assam's indigenous Sonowal-Kachari tribe, has a good image and Mr Sarma is an influential leader, as well as the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance.
The BJP is also yet to hold a meeting of its parliamentary board, which normally decides key issues like who will be the chief minister of a state.
The party did not announce a candidate ahead of the March-April polls. The party had said it would settle the issue after the election was over. In 2016 they had projected Mr Sonowal as its leader and won, forming its government in the northeast.
For the 2021 election, however, the BJP, opted against a chief ministerial candidate but still recorded a comfortable win; the party won 60 seats in the 126-member Assembly, while alliance partners AGP won nine and UPPL six.
With input from PTI, ANI