The Speaker of the Assam Legislative Assembly and Jorhat MLA once again raised eyebrows by speaking on community lines while laying the foundation stone of the Royal Road here on Sunday.
In his speech, Speaker Hitendranath Goswami said he was saddened that deputy commissioner Narayan Konwar had been transferred from Jorhat without his knowledge.
“Prior to elections, deputy commissioners are transferred and 21 were reshuffled recently. I had especially sought an Assamese deputy commissioner as the people here and prefer either the DC or SP to be an Assamese and not both to be non-Assamese. As a result, Konwar was posted here and chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal told me that Konwar was the best DC,” Goswami said.
Goswami said he did not know when Konwar left because on that day he was very busy speaking about his stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
A person present in the meeting said it was strange that the government did not consult the Speaker while transferring Konwar out from Jorhat.
Another person said appointments of DCs and SPs are not made on the basis of caste, creed, community or even cadre (IAS, IPS) but on capabilities and it did not behove a politician of the stature of a Speaker to speak on community lines.
Goswami, in the same breath, praised the Centre for being extra supportive by providing Rs 200 crore city development fund, denounced some of the ‘Centre’s policies which had created problems here, asserting that he had taken a different stand.
“I do not support these policies and will do only what the people want. I am a people’s representative and cannot leave you all behind, ” he said.
In April 2018, Goswami had courted controversy when he reportedly told businessmen, mostly comprising Marwari, to donate liberally if they wanted development works to be undertaken in their respective areas.
Goswami said this while inaugurating the Tocklai bridge which connects Digambarchook to Raja Maidam.
He had said he knew about many businessmen of the community who had built schools, colleges and hospitals in Rajasthan but had contributed nothing here. This had led to the ire of the community, a number of whom had denounced his statement.
Some had said doing business here did not mean that they would have to pay hafta to the government especially when they were paying all the taxes.
Goswami further told the people to work unitedly for the development of the areas eschewing political affiliations as he himself was doing. “As Speaker I do not belong to only one party but represent all parties,” he said.
The road, which would be constructed by the PWD, is about 900 metres in length, 3.5 metre in breadth and cost Rs 48.7 lakh.