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Won�t allow protocol to severe ties with people: Speaker

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, June 2 - The newly elected Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly, Ranjit Das said that he would not follow the protocol which affects the common people. He also asserted that he would always remember his days as the correspondent of The Assam Tribune.

Talking to The Assam Tribune, Das, who was unanimously elected the Speaker of the State Assembly yesterday, said that as the first step from breaking away from the protocol, he has decided to walk down to the Assembly from his official quarter. �It takes only a few minutes to walk down to the Assembly from my quarter. So what is the need for using a convoy of at least four vehicles to go to Assembly,� he questioned. He added, on a lighter vein, that a little bit of walk would also be beneficial for his health.

Das said that he considered all the people of his constituency as his family members and that protocol would never prevent him from visiting them. �I have been visiting all sections of Sarbhog constituency during their times of happiness and sorrow. I shall continue to do so in future, too,� he added.

Remembering his days as the correspondent of The Assam Tribune, Das said that he would never forget those days as he always had very cordial relation with all members of the Tribune family. He revealed that he would always remember two incidents of that time. The first was his news report on the death of a suspected militant in police custody, which was discussed seriously in the State Assembly. He said that he had covered the ethnic clashes in the Basbari area in Barpeta district for The Assam Tribune and several of his reports had appeared with his byline. Those were very proud moments for him, he admitted. �I still consider The Assam Tribune as a temple. I bow my head when I pass the Tribune building,� he added.

Replying to a question on whether the development of his constituency would suffer after he took over as the Speaker, Das said that on the contrary, it would help him to work more for not only his constituency but for the entire district. He revealed that the Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal has also assured him to take all possible steps for the overall development of Barpeta district. Moreover, all the Ministers assured their full cooperation to him.

As to why he decided to join the BJP by giving up his job as a member of the Indian Information Service at a time when the party was not in a strong position in the State, Das said that even while in service he had done some works for the party. He said that in 2004, senior BJP leader Promode Mahajan and Indramoni Bora, BJP State unit president, had visited Barpeta Road and addressed a meeting. �I also attended the meeting. When Mahajan came to know that I was a Government official, he told me either to work for the Government or the party. The very next day, Indramoni Bora visited our house and asked my father whether he would allow me to join active politics. My father told him that if my intension is only to become an MLA, he was against it, but if I want to work for the people, he was not against it. He then asked my wife and she said that the family can run with her salary if I decide to join active politics. So I resigned from the Government job in 2005 and joined the BJP,� he added.

Das� wife works in the State Sales Tax Department and is now posted in Nalbari.

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