Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma appointed two BJP MLAs as new ministers in his Cabinet and also reshuffled a few portfolios on Thursday, 9 June.
The number of ministers in the Cabinet has now increased to 16, with 13 from the BJP and three from partners Asom Gana Parishad and United Peoples' Party Liberal.
Governor Jagdish Mukhi administered the oath of office and secrecy to Jayanta Malla Baruah and Nandita Gorlosa, who represent the Nalbari and Haflong Assembly constituencies, respectively.
Baruah, a two-term MLA and Sarma's former political secretary, has been assigned the departments of public health engineering, employment, skill, entrepreneurship, and tourism, while Gorlosa has been given the departments of power, cooperation, mines and minerals, indigenous and tribal faith and culture.
"I have been given huge responsibility by the CM. PHC department is his most important topic. This will be challenging for me and I will put in a lot of effort. All three departments given to me are very important, it will be my responsibility to take them forward," Jayanta Malla Baruah was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"We will have to work as it is a new department. I will speak with CM & work positively in this matter," Nandita Garlosa said after the swearing-in ceremony.
The chief minister also reshuffled a few departments. Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary who was in charge of the transportation ministry earlier, has been allotted the forest department, replacing Parimal Suklabaidya, who will now be heading the transportation department.
Plans on the Expansion
Chief Minister Sarma had announced the expansion of his 14-member Cabinet on Wednesday, 8 June, for the first time since he came to power last year.
Sarma had previously stated that the highland districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao will be represented in his government which had included 11 Bhartiya Janata Party ministers, two ministers from Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and one from the United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL).
Atul Bora, the president of the AGP and the minister for agriculture and veterinary in the Assam government, had previously stated that they were looking for three Cabinet berths after the 2021 elections, while UPPL President Pramod Boro had requested for an additional vacancy from Sarma.
(With inputs from ANI)