Himanta expands ministry, but five-time MLA snubbed

Two-time Nalbari MLA Jayanta Malla Baruah and fist-timer Nandita Garlosa, who was elected from the Haflong seat, were appointed as Cabinet ministers.
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (Photo | PTI)
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma (Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday expanded his 13-month-old ministry by inducting two MLAs of his party, BJP, into it.

He also effected a reshuffle of the ministerial portfolios.

Two-time Nalbari MLA Jayanta Malla Baruah and fist-timer Nandita Garlosa, who was elected from the Haflong seat, were appointed as Cabinet ministers.

They were administered the oath of office and secrecy at a programme at the Sankardev Kalakshetra here. Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi, Sarma and his Cabinet colleagues were in attendance.

Baruah, who was Sarma’s political secretary, was given the portfolios of Tourism, Public Health Engineering and Skill, Employment and Entrepreneurship.

Garlosa is the new Power minister. She was also given the portfolios of Cooperation, Mines and Minerals and Indigenous and Tribal Faith and Cultural Department.

Later, Baruah tweeted, “With the blessings of the people of Nalbari, I was elected MLA in 2021 & today I’ve been included in the cabinet of our Govt led by Hon'ble CM Dr @himantabiswa dangoriya. I pray to Maa Kamakhya to grant me strength to work vigorously to realise Hon. CM's dream of a new Assam.”

Sarma snubbed five-time party MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi who represents the Mariani constituency. Even as Kurmi was pinning hope on making it to the ministry, the sleuths of the Chief Minister’s Vigilance Cell reportedly “raided” some places in his constituency in connection with alleged anomalies in the utilisation of MLA funds from 2012 to 2022.

Just months after winning the polls for the fourth straight term on the Congress’ ticket last year, Kurmi had defected to the BJP, necessitating a by-election that he contested successfully. His mother, the late Rupam Kurmi, was a Congress minister.

Three more ministerial berths are lying vacant and BJP sources said they would be filled in soon. Currently, the ministry has strength of 16, including the CM.

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