Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday appointed 13 parliamentary secretaries, including controversial legislator Rumi Nath, to consolidate his position after former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the BJP and claimed he has the support of 52 Congress legislators.
Gogoi is also likely to expand his cabinet by inducting at least two ministers. There are possibilities that former ministers Siddeque Ahmed and Gautam Roy would be re-inducted.
The other parliamentary secretaries are Susanta Borgohain, Arun Phukan, Aroti Kachari, Monika Bora, Rupjyoti Kurmi, Ghanashyam Kalita, Habul Chakraborty, Hemanta Talukdar, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Jamaluddin Ahmed, Sivsaran Basumatary and S.R. Subba.
Sarma, once a close confidant of Gogoi and former health and education minister, recently joined the BJP.
Following Sarma’s induction in the BJP, 10 legislators — nine from the Congress and one Independent — met BJP president Amit Shah earlier this month and expressed their willingness to work under the BJP leadership.
Interestingly, the 13 legislators who were appointed parliamentary secretaries include Rumi Nath, one of the prime accused in an inter-state car theft racket, who is out on bail after being in judicial custody.
Former border area development minister Siddeque Ahmed was dropped from the council of ministers last year along with irrigation and soil conservation minister Ardhendu Kumar Dey for their involvement in anti-party activities.
Gautam Roy, on the other hand, was dropped in January when Gogoi reshuffled his cabinet for the first time in 14 years.