As rebel Shiv Sena leaders land in Guwahati, opposition hits out at Assam govt for ‘ignoring floods’


The Opposition in Assam hit out at the BJP government for indulging in “petty politics” at a time when the state has been hit by devastating floods.

Several opposition leaders talked about Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s arrival at Guwahati’s Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport early Wednesday. The dissident leader accompanied by a group of MLAs and independent legislators was received by BJP MP from Assam Pallab Lochan Das and MLA Sushanta Borgohain.

Sushmita Dev, the TMC MP from Silchar — which has been submerged in water for the last 72 hours — said that the BJP government had its priorities wrong. “There is a crisis in Silchar right now — there is no drinking water, there is no electricity, no boats for rescue …people are living on their roofs,” she said. “In the middle of all this, the chief minister of Assam is busy poaching MLAs, and putting them up in five-star hotels. This is really bad.”

On Wednesday, even as the rain abated in Assam, the state continued to reel under floodwaters. According to a release from the disaster management authority, 55 lakh in 32 districts are currently affected. On Tuesday, seven more people died, taking the death toll this year to 88.

“At a time when lakhs are affected, thousands are battling for their lives, the BJP government has made the state the epicentre of its petty politics,” said regional party Assam Jatiya Parishad’s Jagadish Bhuyan. Congress Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia said the chief minister was elected to “serve the people of Assam.” “But while the state is convulsed in floods, he is wasting time in petty politics,” he said.

Earlier, Borgohain, who is the Thowra MLA, told reporters that he was at the airport to “receive friends”. “Two-three of my friends called me up so I came to receive them…They have not disclosed what program they have. I came to the airport as a courtesy visit,” he said.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters that he was not privy to much information on the developments. “I am busy with flood relief work. Right now I’m heading to Kampur (Nagaon)… Tomorrow I will head to Silchar,” he said, adding that there were some “legislator friends” and he may meet them for “five to ten minutes.”

When asked about the developments, Sarma quipped that it was “positive” that people were visiting the state despite the floods. “Since we are inundated, all hotel rooms are empty and the state is facing financial difficulties. Now if tourists from across the country come and stay in a hotel, it will only benefit us,” he said.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Pabitra Margherita added that all people were “welcome” in Assam — whether they are politicians or pilgrims to attend the ongoing Ambubachi at the Kamakhya temple. “For us, the flood relief is the priority – not just chief minister, cabinet ministers and legislators, each and every BJP party worker is involved in rescue operations 24X7,” he said.

At the airport, while speaking to reporters, Shinde said that they were “committed” to Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology of ‘Hindutva’. “We want to take it forward,” he said adding: “We all arrived in Guwahati…I have 40 Shiv Sena MLAs with me. I cannot comment on anybody.”

Shinde said that they were “committed” to Balasaheb Thackeray’s ideology of ‘Hindutva’. “We want to take it forward,” he said adding: “We all arrived in Guwahati…I have 40 Shiv Sena MLAs with me. I cannot comment on anybody.”

The Shiv Sena MLAs were ferried to a luxury hotel in Guwahati in three buses, amid heavy police protection. As of Wednesday afternoon, the MLAs are said to be at a meeting in the hotel, which is also surrounded by tight security.





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