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2nd phase of Ministry expansion after civic polls


NEW DELHI, Jan 21 � In a move aimed at keeping the disgruntled elements guessing, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has proposed to hold the second part of the expansion of his ministry after the local body elections next month.

In his letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the Chief Minister has said: �The remaining four vacancies will be filled up in the next month after the municipal and town committee elections.�

He wrote to the Congress president by saying that after consultations with AICC general secretary in-charge Dr CP Joshi and APCC president Anjan Dutta, he was recommending the names of eight MLAs for inclusion in the council of ministers. The expansion of the Tarun Gogoi Ministry is scheduled to take place on January 23.

In his letter, the Chief Minister said there were some vacancies in the council of ministers as Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma tendered his resignation, while �Dr Ardhendu Dey and Siddique Ahmed were dropped with your kind approval.�

�Our party candidates lost in the Lok Sabha elections in their Assembly constituencies. Further due to withdrawal of support by the BPF from the Congress, their minister Chandan Brahma had also resigned.

The plan to expand his council of ministers in two separate phases is seen as a ploy to keep the dissident group guessing and also use it as incentives for MLAs to work extra hard during the ensuing elections to the local bodies in the hope of making it to the council of ministers.

Himanta Biswa Sarma�s group seems to have adopted a wait-and-watch policy though there is apprehension in the AICC that those dropped in the reshuffle exercise might join hands with the dissident group and trigger fresh crisis for the Gogoi Government in coming days.

The Chief Minister further held that failure of the eight ministers to ensure Congress victory in their respective Assembly constituencies has led to their dropping from the council of ministers.

�It has been decided to drop eight ministers from the council of ministers, who could not perform well due to which our Party candidates lost in the last Lok Sabha elections held in April 2014, in their respective Assembly constituencies,� Gogoi wrote.

They include Prithibi Majhi, Akon Bora, Tanka Bahadur Rai, Gautam Roy, Nilmoni Sen Deka, Pradyut Bordoloi, Pranati Phukan, and Rajib Lochan Pegu.

The Chief Minister announced that those who are proposed to be inducted include Dr Bhumidhar Barman, Sarat Barkataky, Chandan Sarkar, Sukur Ali, Atuwa Munda, Sumitra Patir, Girindra Mallik, Bismita Gogoi.

The reasons cited by Gogoi for their inclusion in the council of ministers include seniority in case of Dr Barman and Barkataky, Schedule Caste status in case of Chandan Sarkar.

Sukur Ali is proposed to be include because he belongs to minority community, while Atuwa Munda and Sumitra Patir are being included because they belong to tea tribe and Mising community, respectively.

Girindra Mallik and Bismita Gogoi are proposed to be included because they belong to the Bengali and Ahom communities respectively.

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