Of the 68 Congress legislators in Tarun Gogoi's flock now, as many as 62 have been accommodated as ministers, parliamentary secretaries, advisors, chairmen & constitutiol functiories
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Sept 25: As Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi struggles to keep his flock of legislators in good humour in his third consecutive term, it turns out that only six of the total 78 MLAs have not been accommodated so far - either as a minister, parliamentary secretary, advisor or chairman.
Two of these six "unlucky" legislators were elected only a year back during a bye-poll - Rajdeep Gowala (Lakhipur) and Mandira Roy (Algapur).
Besides, Sarupathar MLA Aklius Tirkey, Bokajan MLA Klengdon Engti, Soi MLA Amul Haque and gaon MLA Durlav Chamua have never been given any plum post.
The present strength of the Congress in the State assembly is 78. However, former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has already joined the BJP and nine other rebel Congress legislators ready to follow suit are staring at possible expulsion, thereby bringing down the effective Congress MLA strength to 68.
Of these 68 MLAs, 17 are presently holding ministerial berths, including the Chief Minister. Then there are 25 MLAs functioning as parliamentary secretaries. Among other MLAs, 18 are serving as either chairmen of various boards or as advisors. One is the Speaker and another the deputy Speaker of the Assembly.
In other words, fully 62 legislators are holding posts equivalent to a minister of state or above.
Despite his best attempts to placate party legislators with the loaves and fishes of office, the plight of Chief Minister Gogoi at the fag-end of his hat-trick term is there for all to see. After its third win on the trot in 2011, the Congress battled a revolt within the party that brought its government to near standstill for more than two years. The dissidence was a result of disgruntlement among legislators aspiring for ministerial berths and other similar positions.
It may be recalled that the Calcutta High Court had recently struck down the appointment of parliamentary secretaries in West Bengal, calling it unconstitutiol.
The court had declared that the West Bengal Parliamentary Secretaries (Appointment, Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 2012, was ultra vires the Constitution as it goes against Clause 1(A) of Article 164 of the Constitution.