By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 22: It’s official. Fourteen new ministers will be sworn in at Raj Bhavan on Friday.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has retained six members of his previous ministry.
Following a closed–door meeting with Gogoi this morning, APCC president Anjan Dutta announced that Dr Bhumidhar Barman, Sarat Barkataky, Ajanta Neog, zrul Islam, Rakibul Hussain, Chandan Sarkar, Khorsing Engti, Sukur Ali, Ajit Singh, Basanta Das, Etuwa Munda, Sumitra Patir, Girindra Mallick and Bismita Gogoi will be sworn in at 10.30 am tomorrow at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan.
The list has been sent to Raj Bhavan today, official sources said.
Assam Governor (in–charge) PB Acharya arrived in the city today for the swearing–in ceremony.
The remaining four berths will be filled after the civic polls – tentatively between February 15 and 20, Dutta said.
Gogoi had last year dropped ministers Ardhendu Kumar Dey and Siddique Ahmed for dissidence, while the then health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had resigned and Bodoland Peoples’ Front legislator Chandan Brahma also quit after his party ended the over 8–year–old alliance with the Congress.
The state Congress chief, however, made it clear that there was no dissidence or discontent among the party legislators over the reshuffle, and everyone has decided to work together for the assembly polls scheduled for 2016.
Asked if Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was not inclined to include Dr Barman because of his age, the APCC president said, “Yes, Rahul did ask us to consider the age factor. But we told him about Dr Barman’s experience…he is an ex chief minister…and he has a strong hold in lower Assam. Rahul was convinced then.”
Though the port folios of the new ministers are likely to be allocated tomorrow evening, hectic lobbying has begun for the important departments.
Bismita Gogoi, Sumitra Patir and Girindra Mallick are likely to be given the status of minister of state with independent charge.
Sarat Barkataky was a cabinet minister in the first Tarun Gogoi government in 2001, but was dropped during the downsizing in 2004. 83–year–old Dr Barman had been a minister from 2001 to 2011.
Gogoi has dropped eight ministers – Pradyut Bordoloi, Gautam Roy, Nilamonisen Deka, Prithvi Majhi, Tanka Bahadur Rai, Prati Phukan, Rajib Lochan Pegu and Akon Bora.