‘Are We Paying Their Bills?’ Under Fire for ‘Hospitality’ to Shinde Camp Amid Floods, Himanta Sarma’s Plain Speak

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Himanta Biswa Sarma asked who was spreading rumours that the BJP or Assam government was paying for the stay of the rebels at the luxury hotel. (File photo/Facebook)

The Assam chief minister said floods don’t mean no one should visit Assam or the hotels should stay empty, adding that “it’s not a pandemic situation that hotels should be unoccupied”

As the Opposition continues its offensive against the Assam government for its hospitality to the rebel Maharashtra MLAs led by senior Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde amid devastating floods in the state, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday posed a question to his detractors — “Are we paying their bills?”

“I fail to understand the relationship between Assam floods and the Shiv Sena MLAs visiting the state. Floods don’t mean no one should visit Assam or the hotels should stay empty. It’s not a pandemic situation that hotels should be unoccupied. Have we enforced Covid-19 lockdown in the state,” Sarma asked.

The chief minister added: “Guwahati has 200 hotels and boarders. If there are floods in Assam, do I ask people to leave the hotels? What is this argument?”

Sarma also asked who was spreading rumours that the BJP or the Assam government was paying for the stay of the MLAs at Radisson Blu. “Our role is to ensure their stay is secure and comfortable. I have no business in what Maharashtra BJP is doing. If Congress wants to come, they too are welcome,” he said.

He also gave a new spin to the visit of the MLAs, saying the rebels were bringing revenue to the state. “People of India knew about Assam floods when the Shiv Sena MLAs came here. I want MLAs like them to come every time Assam faces floods so that people are aware of the devastating situation or else there wouldn’t have been a single tweet about it so far.”

From the Congress to TMC and NCP, all parties have protested outside Guwahati’s Radisson Blu where the MLAs are camped. A total of 70 rooms have been booked for Rs 65 lakh at the luxury hotel, which has extensive event space, an outdoor pool, a spa and five restaurants.

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