GUWAHATI: Two newly-elected Assam MPs have held on to their ministerial berths in the state even after they resigned from the Assembly.
The duo, Tapan Gogoi and Pallav Lochan Das who are from the BJP, took oath as members of the Lower House on Monday. What makes their position interesting is that both have ceased to be members of the Assembly.
Four MLAs from the state got elected to the Lok Sabha this year. Three of them, including Das, resigned from the Assembly on June 4. Gogoi put in his paper on June 6.
Neither Das nor Gogoi was available for comments on Tuesday. Gogoi had purportedly told an Assamese daily on Monday that he would resign as minister as and when he would be asked to do so by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“I will relinquish the ministerial post when the CM asks me to do so. Whenever I will go to Assam, I will keep discharging my official duties (as a minister of the state),” Gogoi had said.
He had won the Lok Sabha elections from the prestigious Jorhat seat in Upper Assam by defeating his Congress rival Sushanta Borgohain.
Das, who had won from Tezpur seat in northern Assam by defeating the Congress’s MGVK Bhanu, had a similar view as he pushed the ball of his resignation as an Assam minister in the CM’s court.
Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami said, “There is a Constitutional provision which says a person, who is not an MLA, can be a minister and continue in the post, provided he or she gets elected to the Assembly within six months”.
The statement is quite out of context given that Das and Gogoi had contested the Lok Sabha polls to get elected to Parliament.
Opposition Congress said although there is no Constitutional bar in the two MPs continuing to serve as Assam ministers yet their position would create suspicion in the minds of people.
“Constitutionally there is no bar. However, the fact that they are still holding on to the posts gives an impression that they have some vested interests and it creates a suspicion in the minds of the public. They should be above suspicion. They should resign as ministers as they have already taken oath as MPs,” Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora told this newspaper.