Allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodo People’s Front (BPF) are eyeing a larger share in the proposed expansion of Assam cabinet, putting chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP in a spot.
Sonowal is expected to expand his seven-month-old 11-member cabinet this month by inducting eight new faces and both coalition partners are seeking two more berths each.
AGP, with 14 MLAs, has two ministers and BPF, with 12 legislators, has the same number of representatives in the cabinet. BJP, which has 60 MLAs in the 126-member assembly, has seven ministers including Sonowal.
Sources say in order to placate party legislators seeking ministries, Sonowal is planning to induct six more BJP members in the cabinet, and give one berth each to AGP and BPF.
Taking a dig at the government’s reported desire to expand the cabinet at “an auspicious time”, Rajya Sabha MP from BPF Biswajit Daimary said BJP should wait for the opportune date, “but induct BPF and AGP MLAs soon”.
He had earlier this week said that ministers have several portfolios each, affecting their performance. “The cabinet should be expanded soon to make it more effective.”
BPF’s ministers Pramila Rani Brahma and Rihon Daimary are handling four departments and three departments respectively.
Last week, AGP’s executive committee meeting decided on seeking two more ministries for the party. “The chief minister has been apprised of our party’s decision,” AGP president and cabinet minister Atul Bora told journalists.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed BJP state unit chief Ranjit Das has requested the chief minister not to expand the cabinet before the budget session, which will begin on February 7.