Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma took oath as the 15th Chief Minister of the state on Monday in the presence of many high-profile dignitaries. Along with the Assam CM, a 13-member cabinet also took an oath to serve the Assamese people. The cabinet was allocated their portfolios on Tuesday. The portfolio allocation comes as a surprise to the people of Assam as the Health, Education and Finance departments which made great strides under Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma in the last two decades have been allocated to other ministers of the newly formed government.
Meanwhile, many notable and expected names have missed out of a berth in the cabinet. A number of ministers of the Sonowal-led government have also been dropped from the newly formed cabinet.
Here is Headline8’s list of top MLAs who could not make the cut:
On top of the list is Assam’s outgoing Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. MLA from the Majuli Constituency, Sarbananda Sonowal put forward Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma’s name as the Assam Chief Minister in front of the BJP parliamentary board after the NDA swept the elections. And as such Dr. Sarma was elected as the next Chief Minister of the state. Political experts predicted that after the development ex-CM Sonowal will stay in the cabinet and help Dr. Sarma in running the new government. Shockingly, Sonowal was not given any berth in the newly formed cabinet. However, BJP sources say that the ex-Chief Minister will be rewarded with a post in the central cabinet for his supreme sacrifice.
Sarbananda Sonowal led government’s Guwahati Development and Law & Justice minister, Siddhartha Bhattacharya is the MLA from the Guwahati East constituency. He won the seat with a huge margin of 84100 votes and got the chance to represent the constituency for a second time. Being an experienced politician and a former key minister, many political experts were of the opinion that Bhattacharya would secure a berth in the cabinet once again; however, the BJP had other plans in mind and he was dropped from the cabinet.
Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan is another experienced BJP politician who could not make it to the cabinet. Prasanta Phukan will be representing the Dibrugarh constituency for the fourth time and was highly expected to get a berth in the cabinet. But as it turns out, it is not the case. However, his name has come up for the post of the state BJP president.
BJP’s MLA from Sootea constituency, Padma Hazarika has been representing the constituency since 1996. A veteran leader, Hazarika was pictured by many to make it into the cabinet as three cabinet ministers in the last tenure- Chandan Brahma, Pramila Rani Brahma and Rihon Daimary had lost their seats in the recent polls. However, the BJP central leadership could not find a place for the 5 time MLA in the state cabinet.
Also missing in the new cabinet is 64-year-old former Assam BJP president Ranjit Dutta, who held irrigation and handloom & textile portfolios in the Sarbananda Sonowal-led previous government. Dutta has won the Assam Assembly elections from the Behali constituency for the fourth time. But it was not enough for him to secure a place in the Himanta Biswa Sarma-led cabinet.
2-time Rangia MLA Bhabesh Kalita, who was the minister of State (Independent Charge) for Irrigation in the Sonowal’s council of minister, also lost his ministerial berths. But he is highly likely to become new the state BJP party president which will be more than a consolation.
Naba Kumar Doley
Dhakuakhana constituency’s three-time MLA, Naba Kumar Doley is another prominent minister from the Sarbananda Sonowal led government who has been dropped from the cabinet. He was the Minister state (Independent Charge) for Panchayat and Rural Development, Cultural Affairs excluding Library and Archeology matters and Environment & Forest in the previous government.
Gautam Roy, a former Congress minister who represented Katlicherra constituency in Hailakandi district no less than six times, jumped ships to the BJP before the Assam elections. This time around he contested from the Katigorah constituency and won. Once regarded as the ‘king’ of Barak Valley and a political heavyweight, many pictured Roy as a minister in the newly formed cabinet. However, the BJP decided to opt for excise minister Parimal Shuklabaidya as the only cabinet minister from the Barak valley.