Assam first woman finance minister: In a first for the state, a woman legislator Ajanta Neog has been named as the finance minister. A five-time MLA from the Golaghat constituency, Neog has been given the charge by the newly sworn-in Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
This is the first time in Assam’s history that the post of the finance minister was allotted to a woman. The 46-year-old Neog is a law graduate from Gauhati University. She was a minister in the Congress government before switching to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in December 2020 before the recently concluded polls. Speculations were rife that she joined the party after some irregularities were reported in the departments she had held. She won from the Golaghat constituency. She was introduced to politics by Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi after her husband Nagen Neog was killed by the ULFA in 1996. Previously, in the late Tarun Gogoi’s government, she had held the Public Works department.
“I pledge to take Assam among the top states of the country and fulfill my duty to serve the people,” said Neog in the swear-in ceremony on May 10. The former state minister also thanked the people of Golaghat for choosing her to serve as their representative.” Gratitude to all my well wishes and party karyakartas, together towards development,” she had tweeted after winning the election.
#OathTakingCeremony Took oath as cabinet minister in govt of Assam under strong leadership of hon’ble CM @himantabiswa and Hon’ble prime minister @narendramodi
I pledge to take assam among the top states of the country & fullfill my duty to serve the people pic.twitter.com/jA3zg14Pq2
— Ajanta Neog (@AjantaNeog) May 10, 2021
Neog won the Golaghat seat with a margin of 9,036 votes in the recently held Assembly elections. She has been winning from Golaghat since 2001 and now holds the record of being the longest-serving woman MLA from the state.
About her new role, Neog told CNN News18 she is honoured that the chief minister has entrusted her with the responsibility. She said that this is the time to work for the people who have elected her and focus on the challenges at hand, handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
She has also been criticised for the lack of experience in the finance department.
Feature Image Credit: The Shillong Times