Sarbanada Sonowal’s rise from student leader to Union Minister

From a student leader to a Union Minister of State (Independent charge), Sarbanada Sonowal’s rise in politics has been phenomenal.

A former president of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Mr Sonowal jumped into national politics in 2005 when the Supreme Court scrapped the erstwhile Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 on a petition filed by him.

He challenged the piece of legislation as AASU chief in 1999. In the same year he joined the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to begin his political career after seven-year stint as AASU president from 1992 to 1999.

He also held the position of Chairman, North East Students’ Organisation from 1994 to 1999.

Mr Sonowal was elected to the Assam Assembly from Moran constituency in 2001 and to the Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh on AGP ticket in 2004.

He contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls as AGP candidate from Dibrugarh again but lost to former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar.

The 52-year-old politician quit as general secretary of the AGP in 2011 and joined the BJP. He led the BJP to a sweeping victory in this general elections with the party winning seven of the 14 seats from the State.