GUWAHATI, April 24 - After several false starts over the last few months, the long-awaited expansion of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led ministry will finally take place on April 26.
Sources said that six new ministers are likely to be administered the oath of office at 10 am on Thursday at a ceremony in the Raj Bhavan here by Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi.
While four of the new ministers will be from the BJP, the senior partner of the ruling NDA, the junior partners � AGP and BPF � will have one new minister each.
There are eight vacant slots in the ministry, which took charge in May 2016. However, only six berths are expected to be filled up in what will be the first expansion of the 23-month-old ministry.
Among the names of BJP legislators doing the round regarding their likely inclusion in the ministry are Siddhartha Bhattacharya (Guwahati East), Angoorlata Deka (Batadroba), Sum Ronghang (Diphu), Tapan Kumar Gogoi (Sonari) and Pijush Hazarika (Jagiroad).
BJP leaders, however, remain tight-lipped about the names.
From the AGP, senior legislator Phani Bhushan Choudhury is almost certain to be inducted, while from the BPF the name of Emmanuel Mosahary is doing the round. However, BPF sources said that the final decision regarding their representative will be taken by party supremo Hagrama Mohilary.
The State ministry can have a maximum of 19 members. There are currently 11 ministers, including the Chief Minister. While the AGP and BPF have currently two ministers each, the other seven ministers are from the BJP.
The AGP and BPF have been demanding two more berths each in the ministry. However, the BJP has been unwilling to accede to the demand of the junior alliance partners.
There has been lot of speculation regarding expansion of the ministry since last one year. Last August, the expansion had almost been finalized but had to be kept in cold storage as Sonowal did not receive the nod from the BJP central leadership.