The two-year old Assam Cabinet was expanded for the first time with induction of seven new ministers on Thursday.
The new ministers in the Cabinet were sworn in at Raj Bhawan in Guwahti.
The oath of office and secrecy was administered by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi in presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
The Sarbananda Sonowal-led ministry, till Thursday, had only 11 ministers including the Chief Minister.
In the expanded BJP-led Sonowal ministry, five BJP MLAs, two MLAs, each from coalition partners Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) have made entry as ministers.
The BJP MLAs, who took oath on Thursday as ministers, are Siddhartha Bhattacharya, who preceded Sonowal as the State BJP president and Guwahati East MLA; Jagiroad MLA Pijush Hazarika, who is known as a close associate of Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma; former All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) general secretary and Sonari MLA Tapan Kumar Gogoi; Rangia MLA Bhabesh Kalita, and former Congress leader and Diphu MLA Sum Ronghang.
AGP’s Phani Bhushan Choudhury, who has won the Assembly polls from Bongaigaon constituency for six consecutive terms, a former minister in AGP regime and party working president; Chandan Brahma, former Transport Minister in Congress regime and Sidli MLA have also taken oath as ministers on Thursday.
In the last Assembly election to the 126-member Assam Legislative Assembly, the BJP won 61 seats, AGP won 14 and the BPF won 12 seats.
No reshuffle has taken place in the Sonowal ministry in the last two years after it was sworn in on May 24, 2016 as the BJP reportedly failed to convince its coalition partners, AGP and BPF, over the number of berths in the expanded ministry.
Though it was reported that Forest and Environment Minister Pramila Rani Brahma might lose her ministry if BPF MLA Emanuel Mushahary is included in the ministry and Batadrava’s BJP MLA Angoorlata Deka might get a berth in the Sonowal ministry, their names have been left from the list.
Meanwhile, Dibrugarh MLA Prasanta Phukan from the BJP has expressed his dissatisfaction and anger over denying ministerial berth in the expanded Sonowal minsitry. Phukan has resigned from several committees and posts that he has been holding.