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Dass to be inducted in Assam cabinet expansion

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Guwahati, June 1 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is likely to expand his cabinet soon, ahead of the next session of the Assam legislative assembly tentatively slated to take place in July this year, when state BJP President Ranjit Kumar Dass is among those expected to be inducted.
 

While there is already one berth vacant in the Sonowal cabinet, two more slots will fall vacant after Power Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi and Labour Minister Pallab Lochan Das tender their resignations.

Both Gogoi and Das have been elected to the Lok Sabha recently from Jorhat and Tezpur constituencies, respectively, and they are likely to tender their resignations from the state Assembly as well as from the council of ministers soon, to assume their new roles in Parliament.

Sources in the BJP said here that while the name of state unit President Ranjit Kumar Dass has been finalised for inducting in the cabinet soon, the names of the other two legislators to be inducted are not yet known.

A legislator from the Sarbhog constituency, Dass was elected as the Speaker of the Assembly when Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal took charge in June 2016. However, the BJP national leadership wanted Dass to take charge of the state party. He resigned from the post of Speaker in December 2016 and assumed the role of party president in January 2017.

"Like the national level, the Assam BJP is also going to have a new president soon. Incumbent President Ranjit Kumar Dass’s induction in the cabinet is confirmed. However, it is yet to be seen who else the Chief Minister inducts in the cabinet," a senior BJP leader said here on Saturday.

He said that Dass’s tenure is also due to expire in December this year.

While there are different names doing the rounds for inclusion in the cabinet, there is the possibility of including in the cabinet this time one legislator from the minority community, particularly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent call to the new NDA MPs to work without discriminating against anyone and to win the trust of minorities.

Currently, there is no representation of the minority community in the Sonowal-led cabinet.