GUWAHATI, Sept 22 - The Tarun Gogoi ministry will have another expansion before Durga Puja, APCC president Anjan Dutta said today.
Speaking on the sidelines of the swearing-in ceremony of two ministers at the Raj Bhawan here, Dutta said, “There are still two vacancies in the ministry. Two more ministers will be inducted, maybe even three.”
He, however, did not elaborate on which serving minister is likely to be dropped if three new faces are inducted.
The Assam cabinet can have a maximum strength of 19, including the Chief Minister. With the induction of Gautam Roy and Siddeque Ahmod today, the total number of ministers in the Tarun Gogoi-led government stands at 17, with 14 Cabinet ministers and three ministers of state with independent charge.
Dutta said that the matter of inducting new faces will be discussed with the Congress high command once the candidate list for Bihar elections is finalized and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi are able to spare time.
Asked for a specific time frame by which the expansion is likely, he said, “It will be before Durga Puja.”
On being pointed out that only six-seven months are left for the next Assembly elections, Dutta said that the Congress party is determined to give a tough fight to its opponents.
“Today two MLAs from the Barak Valley have been inducted in the ministry. This shows the importance given by us to the Barak Valley,” Dutta said, adding that in the next expansion MLAs from the Brahmaputra Valley will be inducted.