Amid the high voltage election campaigning in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday announced the expansion of his cabinet will be held on June 9.
Speaking to the media in Karbi Anglong after participation in an election rally in Dhansiri, Chief Minister Sarma said, “A new minister from Hills districts will be inducted to the cabinet. The oath-taking ceremony will be held at 11 am on June 9.”
“It will be a minor expansion of the cabinet,” Sarma said without revealing the names of the ministers.
The three hill districts, Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, have five MLAs including Bidya Singh Ingleng (Diphu), Rupsingh Terang (Boithalangso), Darsingh Ronghang (Haoraghat), Dr Nomal Momin (Bokajan) who is also the deputy speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly and Nandita Garlosa (Haflong).
The Himanta Biswa Sarma-led BJP government took charge on May 10 last year with 14 of its cabinet members and has the liberty to still expand to four more ministers. The ministry included 11 members from BJP, two from ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and one from another ally UPPL.
As per Article 164 (1A), the total number of ministers in a state cannot exceed 15 per cent of the total number of members of its legislative assembly. Assam, which has 126 members in the assembly, can have a maximum of 18 ministers, including the chief minister, as per the law.
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has kept the home, personnel, PWD and departments which were not allotted to any other minister. In Sarma’s cabinet, Ajanta Neog has been given charge of the social welfare department and finance department and is also the lone woman member.
Ranjit Kumar Dass holds the portfolios of Panchayat and Rural Development, Public Health Engineering, Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs. AGP’s president Atul Bora has Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry & Veterinary, Border Area Development, Implementation of Assam Accord and Cooperation departments. Keshab Mahanta, the working president of AGP is the Health & Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Information Technology minister.
Another senior MLA Chandra Mohan Patowary is the minister of Transport, Industries & Commerce, Skill Development and Welfare of Minorities. Barak Valley’s senior BJP MLA Parimal Shuklabaidya has the Environment & Forests, Fisheries and Excise departments in Dr Sarma’s cabinet.
Meanwhile, Dr Ranuj Pegu is the minister of Education, Welfare of Plain Tribe & Backward Classes- non-BTC, Ashok Singhal has the Guwahati Development, Urban Development and Irrigation departments. From the Ahom tribe, Jogen Mohan has the minister of Revenue & Disaster Management, Hills Area Development, Mines and Minerals portfolio. Tea Tribes leader Sanjay Kishan hold the Welfare of Tea Tribes, Labour and Employment departments. Pijush Hazarika has Water Resources, Information and Public Relations and Parliamentary Affairs Department.
From Upper Assam, Bimar Bora is the minister of Sports & Youth Welfare, Cultural Affairs, Power and Tourism, and UPPL MLA Urkhao Gwra Brahma has the departments of Handloom & Textile, Soil Conservation, Welfare of Plain Tribe & Backward Classes.