Guwahati, Aug 11: Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal is mulling expansion of his cabinet and left for New Delhi on Thursday to discuss the issue with the BJP central leadership.
According to local state newspaper reports the visit of Sonowal comes close on the heels of his earlier visit along with State Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma last week. The Sentinel quoted Sarma as saying that the party central leadership has given the nod to Sonowal to go ahead with the expansion of his ministry.
Sonowal’s Thursday visit was likely to have thrashed out other details regarding the proposed ministry expansion, sources said.
Meanwhile, prior to leaving for New Delhi, Chief Minister held a meeting with BJP State leadership at the Brahmaputra Guest House here to review the overall functioning of the State government.
Sources said, besides reviewing the performance of the Sonowal cabinet, the meeting also discussed the government’s strategy for the next six months in the backdrop of the prevailing political and social scenario. They also discussed ways and means of strengthening the party.
The meeting further discussed the controversy arising out of the government’s recent move to rename some institutions and schemes after Deendayal Upadhyaya.
“The State leadership of both the organizations also discussed the BJP’s pre-election commitments on issues like foreigners, D-voters, etc.,” a source confirmed.
However, no discussion took place regarding the ministry expansion, the sources added.
On the other hand, State BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass said that the meeting primarily reviewed the work of the government without discussing the issue of ministry expansion. “We are hopeful that the ministry will be expanded within August,” he added.
The ministry expansion has been a much-discussed issue for the past few months, though nothing concrete has emerged till date. The Sonowal cabinet is overburdened with the Chief Minister himself saddled with over 20 portfolios. As against the sanctioned strength of 19, the number of Ministers in the Sonowal cabinet currently is 11, including the Chief Minister. This has resulted in all the Ministers holding multiple portfolios.