GUWAHATI, April 26 - Even as seven new ministers were inducted into the Sarbananda Sonowal-led ministry today, major Opposition parties in the State said that the reshuffle would not lead to any tangible benefits for the common people and also accused the ruling NDA dispensation of ignoring minorities and women.
The Opposition parties also alleged that the AGP and BPF, junior partners in the ruling alliance, are compromising with their ideology for the sake of power.
�So far their (the government�s) report card is dismal. Instead of gimmickry and false promises, people want a performing government. The Chief Minister has chosen his team. Instead of fake leaders, the people want some performing ministers,� Pradyut Bordoloi, vice president of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) told The Assam Tribune.
He added, �The Sonowal government better perform now or they will not be forgiven by the people of Assam.�
Bordoloi said that during the last 23 months of its rule, the BJP-led NDA government at Dispur has focused more on organising festivals like Namami Brahmaputra and making tall promises instead of delivering anything substantial for the people of Assam.
He termed as �odd� the fact that the Sonowal ministry does not have even a single representative from the minorities.
�That is very odd considering the fact that in Assam the Muslims constitute over 30 per cent of the total population. Despite having a Muslim MLA, they have denied representation to the Muslim community in the ministry and it reflects their sectarian mindset,� said the senior Congress leader.
Aminul Haque Laskar, legislator from Sonai constituency, is the only Muslim MLA from the NDA constituents in the Assam Legislative Assembly.
Bordoloi also accused the ruling alliance of ignoring women. �They should have also inducted a woman member. At a time when they are promoting the slogan �Beti Bachao Beti Padhao� and at a time when there are unprecedented attacks on women, they have failed to induct a woman in the ministry,� he rued.
The Congress leader added that both the BPF and AGP, which had demanded at least two more berths each but were allotted only one each, are just interested �in somehow hanging on to power�.
The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) said that the Sonowal government lacks any policy and vision and added that merely expanding the ministry would not lead to any improvement in its functioning.
�Ministry expansion will bring absolutely no change for the common people of Assam. They (ruling alliance) have no agenda for development. Their only focus is on creating division in society by taking up emotive issues, stoking passion and creating labels like �Hindu� and �Muslim�. We are already witnessing this in the growing level of intolerance in society,� said Aminul Islam, general secretary of AIUDF.
Islam said it is not surprising that no minority MLA has been inducted into the ministry. �That is deliberate. They want to play the politics of identity,� he said.
Islam added that the BPF has a history of siding with the dominant party. �Both BPF and AGP have compromised with their ideology for the sake of power. They already proved it by not leaving the NDA despite the introduction of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Now they are stating that if the Bill is passed, they will leave the State government. What will be the use of them leaving the government once the Bill becomes an Act?� said the AIUDF leader.
�What is the use of expanding the ministry if the government does not have a policy for employment generation or for revival of agriculture? Development depends on formulation and adoption of appropriate policy and this is something in which the State government has failed,� said Suprakash Talukdar, central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
He said the Assam BJP has started to witness rebellion within hours of the ministry expansion.
�This government is power-based, not policy-based. Muslims, accounting for one-third of the State�s population, have not been represented in the ministry. There is not even a single woman minister from the BJP. This shows a serious imbalance in the composition of the Sonowal ministry,� said the senior Marxist leader.
Pramila Rani Brahma of BPF is the only woman minister in the State ministry.