Many people in the Northeast have hailed prime minister Narendra Modi for allocating five ministers from the region in the Union Cabinet. On July 7, Sarbananda Sonowal (from Assam), Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Manipur) and Pratima Bhowmik (Tripura) were inducted into the Union council of ministers.
Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh, who was elevated to the cabinet rank, and Rameswar Teli were the incumbent ministers from the region in the Narendra Modi ministry.
“For the first-time ever, so many (5) from #NorthEastIndia in the Union Cabinet. Hope they will work to resolve various issues facing the region. Congratulations @sarbanandsonwal and @KirenRijiju on getting full Cabinet status. @RanjanRajkuma11 @PratimaBhoumik @Rameswar_Teli,” wrote national award-winning filmmaker and critic Utpal Borpujari on Twitter.
For Sonowal, the former Assam chief minister, it is his second innings as a Union minister.
Teacher-turned-politician Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, a BJP Lok Sabha member from Inner Manipur, and Pratima Bhowmik, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Tripura West, are first-time ministers.
Elected from Arunachal West, Rijiju, until his promotion, was the Union minister of state for AYUSH, youth affairs and sports (independent charge) and MoS in the minority affairs ministry.
Rameswar Teli, who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Dibrugarh in eastern Assam, is minister of state for food processing industries (independent charge).
“#NorthEastIndia, the conglomerate construed as a vision & a strategy has the highest ever cabinet level representation with the ModiCabinetExpansion. Important chapter in the region’s history ONLY if the new ministers stand up for the region, plans innovative, implements bold,” tweeted Kaustubh Deka, assistant professor of political science at Dibrugarh University.
Dhrubajyoti Deka, a young entrepreneur based in Guwahati said that it is a great step towards the Act East Policy.
“It’s a great step towards Act East policy. I hope that helps to increase focus on the NE states and our problems are looked upon by the centre for solutions. And especially Sarbananda Sonowal getting the port, shipping and waterways means a lot. It’s an opportunity to explore the possibilities of water transport with the neighbouring countries especially Bangladesh. I’m hopeful,” Deka told TheNewsMill.