Resentment in Congress over few ministerial berths

May 30th, 2009 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Guwahati/Imphal, May 30 (IANS) There is resentment among a section of the Congress in the northeast over the poor representation from the region in the Manmohan Singh ministry. A Congress ally in Assam has also threatened to withdraw support to the Assam government over the issue.
“Despite our requests, none of the Congress MPs from Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram was included in the ministry though the Congress won all five Lok Sabha seats in these states,” a Congress leader said in the Manipur capital Imphal on condition of anonymity.

Only three MPs have been inducted as ministers in the central ministry, from two of the region’s eight states — Assam and Meghalaya.

Some Congress workers burnt Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in effigy in different parts of eastern Assam Friday to register their protest over the non-inclusion of more party MPs from Assam, where the Congress won seven of the 14 Lok Sabha seats.

Only one - Bijoy Krishna Handique - has found a cabinet berth while both MPs from Meghalaya - one from the Congress, Vincent H. Pala, and Agatha K.

Sangma of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) - have been inducted in the ministry.

In the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, there were two cabinet ministers and one minister of state from Assam and Meghalaya.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a junior partner of the ruling Congress in Assam, has threatened to withdrew support to the Tarun Gogoi government in protest against the non-inclusion of its lone Lok Sabha member, Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary, in the central ministry.

“This is clear betrayal as assurances had been given to all pre-poll partners regarding allotment of ministerial berths,” BPF leader Hagrama Mohilary said.

“Our central working committee will meet June 4 to decide whether or not we should continue to support the Congress government (in Assam),” he added.

The influential Assam Cha Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) is also upset over the non-inclusion of Paban Singh Ghatowar, a tea garden leader and a former minister, in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

“All branch units of ACMS would meet in Guwahati Monday to discuss the issue and to take the next course of action,” said ACMS general secretary Dileswar Tanti.

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