Sonowal set to expand cabinet, 6 new faces likely in Assam cabinet

Close to two years after the formation of the BJP-led government in Assam, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal is all set to expand his cabinet for the first time on April 26.

Sources said that six new ministers are likely to be inducted in the cabinet including four from the BJP and one each from alliance partners, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF).

Although BJP leaders have remained tight-lipped over the expansion, sources said that names of BJP legislators including Siddhartha Bhattacharyya, Sum Ronghang, Tapan Gogoi and Piyush Hazarika are doing the rounds.

“A woman legislator from the BJP is also likely to be inducted as minister,” news agency IANS quoted an unnamed source as saying. The agency added that the name of Angoorlata Deka has been doing the rounds. Deka, who won from Batadraba constituency, has been one of the vocal legislators.

At present the 11-member cabinet of Sonowal includes seven BJP legislators including chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. Of the remaining, two are AGP legislators and two BPF legislators.

While the ministry in Assam can have a maximum of 19 members, the chief minister is unlikely to fulfil all the slots at one time.

Senior AGP leader Phani Bhushan Choudhury is likely to be inducted in the cabinet. BPF is likely to nominate either Emmanuel Moshahary or Chandan Brahma to the single slot to be given to the party.

The expansion of the cabinet pending for almost two years has prompted the Opposition as well as alliance partners to often point fingers on the functioning of the departments, saying the ministers were overburdened leading to slow pace of work.

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