While the political crisis in Maharashtra has shifted to Assam with rebel Shiv Sena MLAs camping at a hotel in Guwahati, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma has refused to comment on the development. While talking about the ongoing devastating flood situation in the state, he avoided media questions on the political development saying that hotel guests in the state are welcome at this moment as the govt earns revenue through tax paid by them.
Himanta Biswa Sarma was talking to reporters before departing for Kampur in Nagaon district on a train to review the flood situation, after attending a high-level meeting on the issue. When journalists asked him about the Shiv Sena MLAs arriving in Guwahati from Surat, he said, “We have now good hotels in Guwahati, there is Radisson, there is Taj, therefore everyone should come to Guwahati so that business in the city increases. One person staying in a hotel means we will get GST, we will earn.”
Touching the issue of political crisis in Maharashtra, he said, “If Guwahati becomes the political epicentre of all the states, centre or even foreign countries, I will welcome it. Only hotels here should remain booked”.
When the journalists questioned the arrival of the Maharashtra MLAs in Assam when the state is suffering from one of the worst floods in several decades, Himanta Biswa Sarma responded to it with saying this is the time the state needs more tax-paying tourists. He said, “This is the time the state govt needs money. If the hotels rooms are full at this time, we will get tax.”
He added that generally Assam sees fewer tourists during the flood season, and therefore hotel guests in the state at this time are welcome. He said, “At present the entire state is flooded, we are facing financial trouble, therefore if tourists from entire India come to Assam, we will earn income”.
“If Lakshmi arrives, will you chase away Lakshmi?” the CM asked.
When the journalists insisted on his comments on discussions with the MLAs, he continued to evade the issue, saying the state that does not welcome Goddess Lakshmi can’t achieve progress.
“Generally, people do not come to Assam during flood, but by coming and staying here, these 40 MLAs have shown that people can come here during floods also, stay here in Assam and conduct business. This is a positive sign for the state, what is there to no like it?” Sarma further added.
Assam CM informed that he is not scheduled to meet the Shiv Sena rebel MLAs, and he has nothing to discuss with them. He added that he is leaving for Kampur after meeting the press, and he is busy with flood related work. However, he may pay a courtesy visit to the MLAs for 5 minutes on his way as 2-3 MLAs are his friends, he added.
Himanta Biswa Sarma said that he has no comments to offer on the Maharshtra issue and he has not studied the situation also. He reiterated that he is busy with flood control work, and is not involved in the political issue at present.