Assam: Ministers can take bribes, not demand: Bodo chief

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Bodo Chief

In what seems to be a major blow to the BJP’s anti-corruption drive, Bodoland Peoples’ Front chief Hagrama Mohiliary remarked at a public meeting that there was nothing wrong in ministers accepting a bribe if one was offered to them.

The BPF, a key ally in the BJP-led government in the state, has two ministers. “We have two ministers in the Sarbananda Sonowal government. They should accept maal (bribe) if offered,” he said in a TV interview. He stressed, however, that ministers should not “demand” bribes.

A former rebel-turned-politician, Mr Mohiliary said, while referring to the government’s anti-corruption plank: “The government has taken steps to check corruption, but ministers have not been asked to not accept bribes if offered.”

There is no harm in accepting anything, but the ministers should not demand (it).”

The BPF has two ministers in the Sarbananda Sonowal government — environment and forest minister Pramila Rani Brahma and public health engineering minister Rihon Daimari. Mr Mohiliary has been chief executive of the Bodoland Territorial Council since 2003.

Ms Brahma, the environment and forest minister, came quickly to the media and told reporters that her party president may have made these remarks jokingly. “He keeps on saying such things sarcastically. It doesn’t imply that he was encouraging us to take bribes,” she clarified.

This has come close on the heels of chief minister Sonowal’s appeal to the people not to bribe officials or government employees to get their work done.

Source: The Asian Age

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