Cong slams Assam CM for saying ministers, not MLAs, will work in constituencies

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Guwahati, Jul 7 (PTI) Leader of the opposition in Assam assembly Debabrata Saikia of the Congress on Wednesday criticised Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his statement that the work in constituencies would be implemented by guardian ministers and not MLAs.

The chief minister has displayed the BJP's 'leaning towards fascist and autocratic outlook and openly showed that he has no regard for democracy', Saikia said.

Unveiling a statue of Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerji at Sorbhog on Tuesday, Sarma had said that the MLAs can frame laws in the assembly but it is the duty of the guardian ministers to implement them and government officers will listen to the ministers.

A CPI(M) leader was elected to the assembly from the Sorbhog assembly constituency.

The BJP-led government of the state has appointed 'guardian ministers' and 'guardian secretaries' to look after various aspects of the districts.

'In a parliamentary democracy, the role of both the ruling and opposition parties is important and an MLA has an obligation to look after his constituency, apart from carrying out his official role,' Saikia said.

The ministers are responsible for carrying out the work of their departments efficiently and the officials are entrusted with the task of implementing government policies, he said.

'The Constitution does not mention anywhere that ruling party ministers can usurp the powers of the opposition MLAs. We all know that the primary responsibility of MLAs is to make laws.

'Still, MLAs of both ruling and opposition parties are bound to work for development of their respective constituencies in a neutral way, in accordance with established precedent,' Saikia said.

There is also a system of committees of different departments at the district and constituency level where the chairman is the local MLA, not the minister, whether they belong to the ruling or the opposition party, the Congress leader said.

Similarly, there are oversight committees at the subdivision level, as laid down in the Constitution. Moreover, there are committees to look into the work of ministers also and there are committees at different levels for checks and balances, he pointed out.

The chief minister's statement that the job of an MLA is only to make laws in the assembly is not only frivolous but also unsuitable for an 'educated man with a degree in law', Saikia said.

He urged Sarma to pay more attention to administrative work rather than making political statements. PTI DG NN NN

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