Guwahati, July 8: Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi on Thursday slammed Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his statement that legislators do not have any power other than framing laws, and challenged him to show the relevant rule in this regard.
The CPI(M) also said that Sarma's statement shows his "anti-democratic and autocratic" nature, which should be opposed by every concerned citizen of the state. "The Assam CM tried to reduce the power of MLAs. His statement was against the established norms, many Supreme Court judgements outlining the power of an MLA and the spirit of the Constitution. It is very dangerous for our democracy," Gogoi told a press conference here.
Gogoi, the Raijor Dal President, challenged Sarma to show the clause in the law which says an MLA does not have any power other than framing laws inside the assembly. "If he cannot show any rule, I demand a public apology from him for trying to demean the MLAs of Assam. I appeal to all MLAs of the state to oppose his statement. I will raise this in the upcoming Assembly session," the Independent legislator said. Gogoi listed out a number of government committees where MLAs are either presidents or members and said that they have the power to instruct officials of various departments.
At a programme in Barpeta district on July 6, Sarma had said that the MLAs can frame laws in the assembly but it is the duty of the ministers to implement them and government officers will listen to the ministers. An assembly constituency earlier had only an MLA, but now it has a 'guardian minister' too, he had said. The BJP-led government of the state has appointed 'guardian ministers' to look after various aspects of the districts. One 'guardian minister' has been selected for three-four districts.
On the appointment of 'guardian ministers', Gogoi claimed that the creation of any such position is "totally illegal". The CPI(M) in a statement said, "The public of a constituency always approach the MLA with their issues. So, the CM has not only insulted the MLA but also demeaned the people at large. "The appointment of a guardian minister is an illegal step. The Constitution does not permit this. A minister is responsible for implementing the schemes in the entire state, not only a few districts. This will lead to autocracy only."
A CPI(M) leader was elected to the assembly from the Sorbhog assembly constituency where the chief minister had made the statement. "The DCs, the SPs, the SDCs (sub divisional officers civil), who will they listen to? The executive is with us. As long as I am the chief minister, they will listen to the ministers. The Speaker will listen to the MLAs," Sarma had said. The Congress has also criticised the chief minister for the statement.
Sarma has displayed the BJP's "leaning towards fascist and autocratic outlook and openly showed that he has no regard for democracy", Leader of the opposition in the Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia of the Congress said on Wednesday.