Guwahati: With the results of the 17th Lok Sabha elections being declared, all eyes are now set on the new government at the Centre that will be sworn in on May 30.
Along with the rest of the country, hectic lobbying is going on among the newly-elected MPs from the Northeast for a ministerial berth in New Delhi. The situation gets more interesting with sources in South Block saying PM Narendra Modi is likely to include more faces from the region this time compared to the previous one.
The move to increase the number of ministers from the region, according to sources, is to “reward” party workers from Northeast.
As per sources, PM Modi is likely to hold his first Cabinet meeting of his second term soon after the much-awaited swearing-in ceremony on May 30. Crucial decisions like formation of the next government are likely to be adopted in the meeting, said sources.
In the 16th Lok Sabha, two Northeast MPs got ministerial berths — Kiren Rijiju from Arunachal Pradesh and Rajen Gohain from Assam — against election of eight MPs from the region. This time, altogether 17 MPs from the Northeast have been elected on BJP and its allies’ tickets against the total number of 25 Lok Sabha seats.
Amid speculation that senior Assam minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma is likely to get a ministerial berth this time, the sources clarified that the higher-ups in the party are divided over his “shifting” from the state to the Centre.
While some senior leaders want a ministerial berth for Himanta, a section of the party wants him to be used for the growth of the organisation, especially in eastern India. That was probably the reason why Himanta was allowed to move to West Bengal to campaign for the party in the state during this election, the sources added.
Meanwhile, two names from Assam are doing the rounds as far as ministerial berths are concerned. Amid hectic lobbying by many newly elected MPs in New Delhi, Jorhat MP and Assam minister Topon Kumar Gogoi and RSS leader-turned-MP from Mangaldai Dilip Saikia are being considered, said sources.
A former general secretary of All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), a front-ranking students’ body of the state, Gogoi also holds the portfolio of power (independent) in the Assam government. Saikia, on the other hand, may be a first-time MP but his closeness to the senior RSS leadership is being seen as an asset to his campaign.