Assam governor’s lavish swearing-in with over 200 guests from Haryana draws flak

The guests included 223 people from Sohna village in Haryana and the cash-strapped Assam government paid for their trip.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2017 18:29 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Jagdish Mukhi,Assam,Assam Governor
Jagdish Mukhi being administered oath as Governor of Assam by Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, Justice Ajit Singh at a ceremony at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra at Panjabari in Guwahati on Tuesday. (PTI)

Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi was criticised for his lavish swearing-in on Tuesday that was attended by around 500 guests, nearly half of them ferried from his native village near Gurgaon.

The ceremony was organised at an expansive cultural centre, instead of the Raj Bhavan in Guwahati.

“The new governor has displayed a feudalistic trait by bringing in 500 guests from Delhi and Haryana for his abhishek (coronation) and making the Assam government pay for logistical arrangements,” former minister Pradyut Bordoloi said on Wednesday.

The guests included 223 people from Sohna village in Haryana and the cash-strapped Assam government paid for their trip, according to a government official.

They were booked in top-end hotels and government guesthouses. The Guwahati administration provided cars and men to bring the guests from the airport.

The ceremony drew flak as chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had sought help from Prime Minister Narendra Modi a few months ago to tide over the state’s “precarious” financial condition.

“Lavishness on this scale for a governor’s swearing-in is unfortunate for a state that is not financially sound. We did not know who Mukhi was, but the BJP-led government made sure we will remember him for wrong reasons,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharjee said.

Pressure groups such as the All Assam Students Union and Krisham Mukti Sangram Samiti criticised the Assam government for “unnecessary expenditure” on what should have been a routine event.

State finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma declined to react to the controversy. “We do not comment on Raj Bhavan,” he said.

Raj Bhavan officials said Mukhi left for New Delhi for a conference of governors scheduled on Thursday. “Reaction, if any, can be had after he returns,” an official said.

The 74-year-old BJP leader represented Janakpuri constituency in the Delhi assembly for seven consecutive terms since 1980, until he lost to the Aam Aadmi Party in 2014. He was finance minister when the BJP ruled Delhi nearly two decades ago.

Mukhi was made the lieutenant governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2016 before his new assignment in Assam a year later.

First Published: Oct 11, 2017 18:29 IST