Guwahati: Like New Delhi like Dispur! As if following the footsteps of the Centre, Assam’s new chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma assigns a woman as the finance minister in Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led alliance government in Dispur. Sarma, former State finance minister, has allocated the portfolio to newly emerged saffron legislator Ajanta Neog.
Ms Neog, the former minister in Tarun Gogoi’s Congress government has thus created the history to become the first FM of Assam following the trails where Nirmala Sitharaman was inducted as Union finance minister by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the second consecutive NDA government in New Delhi.
Taking oath as a cabinet minister on Monday, the 57 years old legislator from Golaghat received the important portfolio along with the social welfare portfolio in the new government. A post-graduate in Law from Gauhati University, Ms Neog had recently joined the BJP. The widow of former Congress minister Nagen Neog was actually a cabinet colleague to CM Sarma in Gogoi’s ministry.
The young CM, who served as a State minister in both Gogoi and Hiteswar Saikia’s Congress government and was empowered as the second-in-command in Sarbananda Sonowal led saffron government, has kept the departments of home, personnel, Loknirman (and any other department not allotted to the ministers) with him.
State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass has been allotted the panchayat & rural development, public health engineering, food & civil supplies, consumer affairs, etc. Similarly, president of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which is an important ally to BJP, Atul Bora retained his earlier department of agriculture, horticulture, animal husbandry & veterinary along with the border area development, implementation of Assam Accord, cooperation, etc.
Another AGP minister Keshab Mahanta gets the health & family welfare,science & technology, information technology department. Former saffron minister Chandra Mohan Patowary has been re-allocated the transport, industries & commerce along with skill development, minority welfare department. Parimal Shuklabaidya retained the environment & forests, excise along with the fishery department. Pijush Hazarika gets the water resources, information & public relations, parliamentary affairs, etc. Jogen Mohan has been allocated the revenue & disaster management, hills area development, mines & minerals and Sanjay Kishan gets the department of tea tribes welfare, labour and employment.
Bimal Bora elevated as the sports & youth welfare, cultural affairs, power, tourism, etc minister. Ranuj Pegu gets the education, welfare of plain tribe & backward classes (non-BTC), where Ashok Singhal is elevated as the Guwahati development, urban development, irrigation minister. The legislator belonging to United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), another BJP ally, Urkhao Gwra Brahma has been allocated the department of handloom & textile, soil conservation, welfare of plain tribe & backward classes (BTC), etc.