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Gogoi keeps suspense on

Guwahati, May 18: The oath-taking ceremony for the new Assam ministry was postponed by a day ostensibly because Thursday is “inauspicious”, but it was evident as soon as chief minister Tarun Gogoi arrived with his “approved” list that more than superstition played a part in the decision.

Sources said the governor was informed about the postponement in the morning. The swearing-in was slated for the afternoon at the Pragjyotish ITA Centre for Performing Arts. Gogoi is said to be under immense pressure to include some senior members among the Congress’s 53 MLAs in his government.

PCC president Bhuba-neswar Kalita claimed an 18-member ministry would take oath of office, but sources said at least two slots might be kept vacant for an expansion at a later date. The size of the ministry cannot exceed 19.

“The pressure is still on and it is anybody’s guess whether Gogoi can maintain his stand till tomorrow,” said a senior Congress leader known to be close to the chief minister.

Another source claimed that except for former chief minister Bhumidhar Barman, who was health and family welfare minister in the previous government, all the veterans in the erstwhile ministry had been left out. “Both Rameswar Dhanowar and G.C. Langthasa, the seniormost faces in the previous government, will not be in the ministry. But both will be accommodated as chairman of the public undertakings with cabinet rank.”

Former Speaker Prithibi Majhi and Dinesh Prasad Gowala are likely to be the two representatives of the tea community. Khorsing Ingti, chief executive member of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, will be the lone representative from the Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hills, the source added. Nazrul Islam, Rockybul Hussain and Nurjamal Sarkar, the three representatives of the minorities, are tipped to get cabinet rank.

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