Guwahati: Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday criticised the expansion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's council of ministers, saying Assam has been neglected in the process.
"There should have been at least two ministers, including at least one cabinet minister, from Assam considering the mandate the BJP had received from the people of Assam," Gogoi said.
"This is perhaps the first government at the Centre which had only one minister and not even a minister of cabinet rank," he added while addressing a press conference in Assam's main city Guwahati.
"How can the wishes and aspirations of the people of Assam be placed at the Cabinet meetings of the central government," Gogoi asked, adding that Assam was largely ignored during the ministry expansion by Modi on Tuesday.
Gogoi also took a dig at the BJP-led Assam state government for its decisions to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) on 127 items and to withdraw the subsidy on petrol and diesel, and said this will hit the people of the state hard.
"The BJP had campaigned of 'achche din' during the elections but are these good days that people of Assam are witnessing," he asked. "Where is the 'achche din' promised by them? I admit that we had failed to control the price-rise, but why has the BJP failed to do so as well," Gogoi said.
"We have failed and so people did not vote for us. They voted for the BJP, expecting better days and the state government is doing just the opposite," he said, adding that although the chief minister had instructed the state machinery to contain price rise, the administration and bureaucrats have failed so far.
"The BJP government at the Centre had also claimed to have abolished the illegal toll gates in different parts of the state. However, the price-rise is continuing and now the government has increased the VAT which will further increase the price rise," Gogoi added.
He also slammed the NDA government at the Centre over the proposed sale of 12 oilfields in Assam and said that the move will harm the state.
"Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan himself admitted that there is a probability of getting 21 million tonnes of oil in the 12 oilfields. If it is so, then why the same had not been explored earlier? And if there are 21 MMT of oil there, how can these be marginalised oil fields," Gogoi questioned.
"If there is so much of oil, the Centre should have taken up steps to explore those oilfields by the public sector companies. This is a conspiracy to hand over the oil fields to private parties and this will affect the interest of Assam," he added.