Himanta Biswa Sarma
"My job is to see the guests coming to our state can stay safe and in comfort," said Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma | Photo: Twitter/ANI

Why should BJP pay bills for Shiv Sena rebels, Sarma hits back at opposition

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma hit out at the opposition parties when they asked who was paying the bills of rebel Maharashtra MLAs staying in a luxury hotel in Guwahati.  “Why will BJP pay their bills? BJP is not paying any bill. You can go to the hotel and find out. People of Assam are not paying the bills. Instead, we are collecting money from them in the form of tax. People of Assam will be benefitted,” Sarma told reporters in Guwahati when asked by journalists.

Congress, in a statement, had alleged that the BJP government in Assam was giving a “royal treatment” to the rebel MLAs when the state was going through a devastating flood. Sharad Pawar-led NCP also asked central agencies to probe “black money” involved in the rebel MLAs’ stay at luxury hotels. The Congress and TMC demanded that the Shiv Sena MLAs should be immediately asked to leave the state in view of the prevailing flood situation.

Also read: Flood situation in Assam remains grim; Silchar under water for six days now

‘Nothing to do with floods’

“I don’t understand what is the connection between flood in Assam and their stay in our hotel? There are other luxury hotels too in Guwahati, where many other guests are staying. There are 200 hotels in Guwahati, people from outside Assam are staying. How can I ask them to leave Assam just because there is a flood? Is there a lockdown for Covid-19?” Sarma asked.

When asked about whether BJP was supporting the Shiv Sena rebel, Assam CM said: “Whether BJP is supporting the rebels in Maharashtra or not, I have nothing to do with that. My job is to see the guests coming to our state can stay safe and in comfort. Tomorrow, if Congress MLAs also come to Assam, my job will be to ensure their safety and comfort.”

Rs 56 lakh for a week

Radisson Blu, a five-star hotel in Guwahati where rebel Shiv Sena MLAs from Maharashtra are staying, has emerged as the centre of action in the ongoing political crisis for the Uddhav Thackeray government.

The Radisson Blu hotel at Guwahati where Shiv Sena rebels have booked 70 rooms for seven days | Photo: Radisson Blu website

Sources told NDTV that 70 rooms have been booked for seven days. Seven days’ tariff for the rooms in Guwahati’s Radisson Blu hotel is Rs 56 lakh, according to sources at the hotel and local politicians. Add to this a daily estimated cost of food and other services at Rs 8 lakh a day.

The hotel has 196 rooms. Apart from the 70 rooms booked for the MLAs and their teams, the management is not accepting new bookings, and has already barred those booked on corporate deals. Also, the banquet is closed, so is the restaurant except for those staying at the hotel.

The cost of the whole “operation” — including chartered flight from Surat to Guwahati and other transport arrangements, besides other expenses – is not known so far.

Also read: Why did Eknath Shinde and his men go to far-off Guwahati?

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