Saying that all “tourists” in his state are welcome, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday tried to rule out his interference in Maharashtra’s state politics as nearly 50 ‘rebel’ MLAs, led by Eknath Shinde, stay put at a posh Guwahati hotel.
“Some people have come to Assam. They booked hotels. I am happy for that. You also come, it will help Assam’s economy. Through this, Assam’s tourism is also getting promoted,” Sarma told news agency PTI in Delhi. The Assam CM was in the national capital to support the nomination of NDA’s presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu.
Responding to allegations that being a Chief Minister himself, he is disregarding the federal structure of the country, Sarma told news agency ANI, “Should I stop people from coming to hotels in Assam in the name of federalism?”
Sarma refused to comment on the political happenings in Maharashtra as he said that it is a big state. Reacting to criticism from the Opposition that he is neglecting the flood situation in his state, and is more involved in Maharashtra, Sarma told PTI, “I don’t know what kind of mindset these people have. Should I shut down Guwahati’s hotels because there is flood in some part of the state. We are providing relief to the flood affected people. How can I shut the hotels in Guwahati. If tomorrow, you decide to come and stay in a hotel in Guwahati for 10 days, as a CM, should I say that you should not come.”
When asked about other Maharashtra MLAs coming to Assam, Sarma told ANI, “I am hearing from you that more MLAs are reaching Assam. I invite all legislators from across the country to come and visit Assam.”
“I don’t know how long they will stay, but it is my honour to host them for as long as they want,” Sarma told ANI when asked how long the ‘rebel’ MLAs will be camping in his state.
When asked about his message to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Sarma said, “Even you should come for vacation to my state as well.”
Reacting to his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee’s statement that she would welcome the ‘rebel’ MLAs in a grand manner, Sarma told PTI, “There is always competition between Assam and Bengal on tourism. Mamata di wanted to take away the ‘Lakshmi’ which came to my place. If they go to Bengal, Bengal will get the GST. I want to tell Mamata di that those who want to come to Assam, at least spare them. Don’t take away them. Yours is a big state.”