|State President-Bharatiya Janata Party (Assam)|
9 November 2012
|Preceded by||Ranjit Dutta|
|Member of Parliament Lok Sabha-Dibrugarh (India)|
|Preceded by||Paban Singh Ghatowar|
|Succeeded by||Paban Singh Ghatowar|
|Member of Legislative Assembly (Assam)|
|Succeeded by||Jibontara Ghatowar|
|President-All Assam Students Union (Assam)|
31 October 1962 |
Dinjan, Dibrugarh, Assam
|Political party||Bharatiya Janata Party|
Sarbananda Sonowal (Assamese: সৰ্বানন্দ সোনোৱাল) is the State President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam, India. He is also a National Executive Member of the BJP. Sonowal was the president of the All Assam Students Union from 1992 to 1999. He was a member of the 14th Lok Sabha of India, representing the Dibrugarh constituency of Assam. Until January 2011, he was a member of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) political party but was later invited to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Sarbananda Sonowal resigned from All Executive posts within AGP and left the party, due to dissatisfaction with and amongst the senior leadership of the party who were trying to forge an alliance with a party that was against the scrapping of the controversial IMDT Act. "The AGP was born out the illegal foreigners' issue after the six-year-long Assam agitation; 855 people laid down their lives in the agitation. However, the party has failed to honour the sacrifice of the martyrs by deviating from its principles. But I have no grievances against the dedicated grassroot-level workers. Since the AGP has failed to tackle the illegal migrants' problem, I've joined the BJP keeping in mind the interest of the people of Assam and the fact that I'll be able to highlight the problems and issues of the state at the national level," Sonowal, the former AGP general secretary, said.
On 8 February 2011, Sonowal joined BJP in the presence of the then BJP National President Nitin Gadkari and senior leaders like Varun Gandhi, Vijay Goel, Bijoya Chakravarty and state BJP president Ranjit Dutta. He was immediately appointed as a member of the BJP National Executive and later on the State Spokesperson of the BJP unit, prior to his current assignment to head the state as the new president.
2001-2004: Elected as MLA, Assam Legislative Assembly from Moran Constituency
2004: Elected as Member of Parliament, 14th Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh Constituency
2005: Appointed Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Home Affairs
2006: Appointed Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of Commerce & Industry
2011: Appointed as National Executive Member of-Bharatiya Janata Party
Social and cultural activities:
President - All Assam Students Union, 1992–1999
Chairman - North East Students Organisation, 1994–2004
Sports and clubs:
Football, Cricket and Badminton.
Role removing the IMDT Act
Faced with the problem of massive migration from Bangladesh into Assam, the government tried to put up legislation in place to detect and deport foreign nationals. Eventually, the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983 (IMDT) came into being following the Assam Accord signed between the Centre and the All Assam Students Union (AASU) to end the decade-long anti-foreigner agitation.
The IMDT Act is an instrument passed by Indian Parliament when there was no MPs elected from Assam, to detect illegal immigrants (from Bangladesh) and expel them from Assam. While the IMDT Act operates only in Assam, the Foreigners Act (1946) applies to the rest of the country. It is applicable to those Bangladeshi nationals who settled in Assam on or after March 25, 1971. Under the Act, the onus of proving the citizenship of a suspected illegal alien rests on the complainant, often the police. On the other hand, according to the provisions of the Foreigners Act, the onus lies with the person suspected to be an alien.
Sarbananda Sonowal took the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration to the Supreme Court. By its judgement dated July 12, 2005, the court struck down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, as unconstitutional and termed Bangladeshi infiltration an "external aggression" and directed that "the Bangladesh nationals who have illegally crossed the border and have trespassed into Assam or are living in other parts of the country have no legal right of any kind to remain in India and they are liable to be deported."