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Tuki expands team with 18 secys

- 6 Cong MLAs retain position, 9 elevated, 3 first-timers rewarded

Itanagar, June 6: Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Nabam Tuki expanded his team today by inducting 18 Congress legislators as parliamentary secretaries.

In his first stint as chief minister, Tuki had inducted 25 parliamentary secretaries in a phased manner, besides 11 cabinet ministers and a sea of chairpersons to lead government departments.

Among the 18 inducted today, six retained their positions from the previous Tuki government, nine saw themselves elevated and three first-time MLAs have been awarded by the chief minister. They have not been awarded portfolios yet.

Notable among the returning parliamentary secretaries is former finance minister Chowna Meinís brother Chow Tewa Mein. Tuki had sacked Chowna as finance minister in the previous government following dissident activities within the party but he has been inducted as agriculture minister this time.

Yachuli legislator Likha Saaya, the only Congress candidate to secure a win in Lower Subansiri district, has also been retained. Saaya is an accused in the Rs 1,000-crore PDS scam. Another accused MLA, Takam Pario, was chosen by Tuki to be the PHE minister.

The other returning parliamentary secretaries are Punji Mara, Phosum Khimhun, Jambey Tashi and Phurpa Tsering.

From the three first-timers, Tuki has chosen to award Arunachal PCC president Mukut Mithiís son Mutchu with a parliamentary secretary post.

The 36-year old Mutchu, who defeated veteran leader Laeta Umbrey of the Peopleís Party of Arunachal from Roing seat in Lower Dibang Valley district, is a successful entrepreneur and is amongst the 19 debutantes in the state Assembly.

Mama Natung and Tatung Jamoh are two other debutantes who have been awarded parliamentary secretary posts. Tukiís team also includes the only two women in the Assembly ó Karya Bagang and Gum Tayeng. Both Bagang and Tayeng, who retained their constituencies in the April 9 election, did not hold any additional official responsibilities in the previous Tuki government.

Legislators Markio Tado, Techi Kaso, Kumsi Sidisow, Alo Libang, Tapuk Taku, Jomde Kena and Bameng Felix round up the remaining seven posts.

While portfolios are yet to be allocated, Tuki will have to first deal with the fact that his cabinet is still incomplete. With nine ministers in his cabinet so far, two posts are still vacant.

Sources said senior leader and Arunachal PCC vice-president Lombo Tayeng is hoping for a ministerial berth. He belongs to the indigenous Adi community. Calls have been made by Adi Baane Kebang, the highest body of Adi community, to include at least two ministers from the tribe.

Groups from the indigenous Nocte community, residing primarily in Tirap district, are also lobbying for inclusion of an MLA from the tribe into the ministry. If Tuki does concede to such calls, former Speaker Wanglin Lowangdong could be in the running for one of the remaining two cabinet berths.

Neither of the Gamlin brothers ó former chief minister Jarbom and former transport minister Jarkar ó has been awarded either a ministerial or parliamentary secretary berth.


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