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‘Are Maharashtra MLAs so poor that we need to pay their bills?’ Himanta Biswa Sarma denies Assam govt or BJP funding Shiv Sena rebels

The Assam CM said that Assam govt and BJP are not involved in the political crisis in Maharashtra, and instead of paying bills of dissident MLAs, Assam is getting money from them in form of tax

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has categorically denied claims that Assam govt or BJP is paying the bills of Shiv Sena MLAs staying in a Guwahati hotel. Saying that Assam govt and BJP have nothing to do with the ongoing crisis in Maharashtra, he said that there is no reason why Assam will pay the hotel bills.

When reporters asked about his comments on the matter of dissident Shiv Sena MLAs staying at Hotel Radisson Blu in Guwahati, the CM said that he has no idea about the matter as he is not updated with the same. Using an Assamese idiom that says ginger traders does not need to have information on ships, he said that Assam govt and BJP has nothing to do with the crisis in Shiv Sena, and therefore he is not involved in it and he has no information on it.

When asked if Assam govt is paying the bills for the rebel MLAs, Himanta Biswa Sarma categorically denied it. ‘Why Assam will spend money for them? Anyone can file an RTI to find it, why will we spend money for them? If someone comes to Assam, why Assam govt will pay their bills?’ he said.

When told that opposition is claiming that Assam govt is funding the stay of the Maharashtra MLAs, Sarma said that those who are claiming this have limited knowledge. ‘Are people in Maharashtra or their MLAs facing such severe financial crisis that we have to pay their lodging bill?’ he counter questioned. ‘Or, why will we even pay even if they ask?’ he further added. The Assam CM also said that he has not talked to Eknach Shinde.

Himanta Biswa Sarma added that instead of paying bills, Assam govt is actually getting money from the MLAs, in the form of GST that they are paying along with their bills in the hotel. Saying that he is not involved in the matter of dissident MLAs staying in Assam, he said that his only concern is that guests in Assam should be staying securely and comfortably. “Tomorrow, even if Congress MLAs come, I will extend the same welcome,” he added.

Responding to the demands of Congress, TMC and other opposition parties that the Shiv Sena MLAs should be evicted from the hotel and send back to Mumbai, Assam CM asked why should the govt evict people from hotels. ‘If we evict people from hotels, who will stay there?’ he asked.

‘Assamese youths work at Radisson Blu, why they want to kick at their abdomen?’ he further said. Sarma said that if govt does not allow people to stay in hotels, then nobody will stay in hotels in Assam.

Further referring to demands of the opposition MLA Akhil Gogoi to send the MLAs back from Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he is doing this to create trouble in the state. ‘If we keep evicting people from hotels, businesses in the state will suffer, people will not get jobs, they will start agitations, he wants this only. But we want there should be prosperity in Assam, they want there should be poverty so that agitations keep happening’, he said. He also asked if Akhil Gogoi will compensate Radisson Blu for the loss of their income.

When the reporters asked about BJP leaders and MLAs and visiting the hotel, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that there is no bar on MLAs visiting hotels. They may know some people staying their personally, and visiting the hotel to meet them, govt can’t stop them from going there. ‘Everyone can go there, even I can go their there to have tea’, he said.

It may be noted that earlier in the day, the NCP had raised the question of the bill of the MLAs staying in Assam. “Who is paying the bills of hotels in Surat and Guwahati as well as the chartered flight?” NCP chief spokesperson Mahesh Tapase had asked. He had also demanded a probe by ED and Income Tax department to find the source of ‘black money’ used to fund the MLAs.

At least 45 Maharashtra MLAs are staying at Radisson Blu Hotel in Guwahati, including 39 Shiv Sena MLAs led by Eknath Shinde. They arrived in Guwahati from Surat on June 22. They had moved from Mumbai to Surat a day earlier, and next day they shifted to Guwahati on a chartered plane. Initially around 30 MLAs had came, and later more MLAs joined them. With the MLAs, several other Shiv Sena leaders also have joined them in Guwahati.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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