Tarun Gogoi promises to work with renewed vigour

By Prasanta Mazumdar

GUWAHATI: Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi was sworn in as the chief minister of Assam for the third straight term on Wednesday.

Governor JB Patnaik administered the oath of office and secrecy to 77-year-old Gogoi at a function at Raj Bhawan in Guwahati.

Union minister BK Handique, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, PCC chief Bhubaneswar Kalita, Gogoi’s family members and top civil and police officials were among those who attended the swearing-in ceremony.

Gogoi is second after the late Bimala Prasad Chaliha to do a hat-trick as chief minister.

Later talking to journalists, Gogoi said his government would now expedite the process of peace and economic reforms. “People voted in our favour not for our lectures but for what we have delivered to them especially during our second term (2006-2011),” Gogoi said.

“In the run upto the polls, opposition parties, mainly BJP, and a section of the media went all out against us. However, the people gave us an absolute mandate keeping in mind our performances in the last five years,” he said. Gogoi said he held people living in rural areas in high esteemas they had been politically and socially very conscious.

“People living in villages largely voted in favour of us because they didn’t want peace and development to be disturbed,” he said. A number of development schemes implemented by the Gogoi government were rural-oriented.

“The mandate has increased our responsibility further. We shall have to work with renewed vigour now,” he said. Gogoi has a daunting task ahead given that he could accommodate only 18 of the 78 elected legislators of his party in the ministry. Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) is an ally of the Congress and so, he cannot ignore it either.

“Our ties with BPF have been the best among alliance partners in the country in the last five years,” Gogoi asserted.

He said he would leave for New Delhi on Thursday to finalise his ministry in consultation with AICC leaders.

Opposition Asom Gana Parishad observed the day as ‘black day’ against alleged tampering of electronic voting machines by the Congress in the polls.