New Delhi: Sarbananda Sonowal, who has led BJP to its maiden victory in Assam assembly polls, on Thursday said the main priority of the new government will be to protect the interests of greater Assamese society.
Projected as the BJP's chief ministerial candidate, Sonowal said stopping infiltration, a main poll plank of the saffron alliance, would be a major challenge for him.
People were fed up with Congress and they wanted change and good government, he said.
"People have accepted our winning combination. This is a great victory. People of Assam have been looking for such a combination.Our main target is to protect the interests of bonafide Indian citizens, whether they are Hindu or Muslims it doesn't matter," he added.
"We have to protect the interests of greater Assamese society, which include Assamese, Bihari Marwaris, Bengalis, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs. We have to work together, live together and fight together," he said soon after it became clear that BJP for the first time would get a majority in the 126-seat state Assembly.
He said there are a lot of challenges ahead. "The big issue is infiltration that is a national issue; Indo-Bangladesh border sealing. Many more issues like employment is there," he said.
The Union Minister played down challenges to him from within the winning alliance, saying they all have to work together.
BJP had stitched an alliance of virtually all regional parties, which represent various sections of indigenous population, to take on Congress and AIUDF, accusing the two parties of supporting infiltrators, mostly Bangladeshi Muslims.
Sonowal left the AGP in January 2011 following differences with the party leadership and went on to join the BJP in February 2011 in the presence of then party President Nitin Gadkari and other senior leaders.
He went on to become the BJP state unit President in 2012 and was credited with raising the party's tally to seven from the earlier four and reducing the Congress' margin to three from seven in the 2014 Parliamentary polls.
Sonowal has been also credited with making inroads for the party in erstwhile Congress bastion of the tea districts of Upper Assam by ensuring party wins in Dibrugarh and Jorhat parliamentary constituencies.
He, himself, wrested the Lakhimpur constituency from former Union Minister Ranee Narah of the Congress and was made the Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Development.
He also played a key role in ensuring the hosting of the South Asian Games (SAG) in Guwahati and Shillong.
Sonowal, who belongs to the Sonowal-Kachari tribe, has contested this assembly polls from Majuli, the world's largest river island and the seat of Vaishnavite culture.
Born on October 31, 1962 in Molokgaon in Dibrugarh district to Jibeswar Sonowal and Dineswari Sonowal, he is a bachelor and a devout follower of Assam's renowned Vaishnav saints Sankardeva and Madhavdeva.
An ardent sportsman, the Union Sports Minister is a keen follower of football, cricket and badminton....