GUWAHATI, Sept 22 - With only around six-seven months to go before the next Assembly polls in the State and attempting to launch a rearguard action against aggressive politicking by the BJP and the AIDUF, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today expanded his ministry by inducting two ministers.
Governor PB Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to the two new ministers – Gautam Roy and Siddeque Ahmod – at a function held at the Durbar Hall of the Raj Bhawan here. Both the ministers took their oath in Bengali.
The ministers were allocated portfolios later in the afternoon. While Roy has been given Social Welfare department, Ahmod will be the Minister for Commerce and Industry. Both Roy and Ahmod hail from the Barak Valley. Interestingly, both of them were ministers in Gogoi’s ministry earlier before being dropped.
With this induction, 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. This is the second time this year that Gogoi has made changes in his cabinet. The first reshuffle had taken place in January.
Roy, who held the Public Health and Engineering portfolio earlier and represents Katlicherra Assembly constituency in Hailakandi district, had resigned from the cabinet along with the other ministers, prior to the January reshuffle to enable the Chief Minister to reconstitute his cabinet.
Ahmod had served as the Border Areas Development and Cooperation Minister till last year when he was dropped by Gogoi for siding with the Congress party dissidents, led by former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who recently left the party to join the BJP. Ahmod represents Karimganj (South) Assembly constituency.
The Social Welfare portfolio was till now held by Ajanta Neog and the Commerce and Industry portfolio was held by Basanta Das.
The Assam cabinet can have a maximum strength of 19, including the Chief Minister. After today’s expansion, two more slots still remain vacant in the ministry. Today’s ministry expansion comes a week after Gogoi inducted 13 parliamentary secretaries.