Assam: War of words erupts between Himanta Biswa, Gaurav Gogoi over 'favouritism'
Assam CM Himanta B Sarma

Aizawl: A heated exchange on X (erstwhile Twitter) unfolded between Assam’s Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, and Riniki Bhuyan Sharma, the owner of a private company, following allegations of government subsidies and misuse of influence.

The saga began on September 12 when Gaurav Gogoi took to Twitter, accusing a company linked to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife of receiving a substantial Rs. 10 crore subsidies.

In a tweet, he addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying, “Adarnya Pradhan Mantri Modi, your government has given Rs. 10 crore subsidy to a private company run by the wife of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa’s wife. Is this revdi or rabri? Is this why people are paying tax?”

Gogoi followed up with another tweet, raising concerns about the Kisan Sampada scheme, intended to double farmers’ income. He alleged that the Chief Minister had used his influence to secure Rs. 10 crore in credit-linked subsidy for his wife’s company. He included a link to a website detailing agro-processing cluster projects, one of which was owned by Riniki Bhuyan Sharma.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma swiftly responded to the allegations, stating that he was willing to resign if any evidence could prove that his wife had received funds from the Government of India. He said, “…I want to emphasize once again that neither my wife nor the company she is associated with has received or claimed any amount from the Government of India. If anyone can provide evidence to the contrary, I am willing to accept any punishment.”

The Twitter feud escalated on Thursday when Gaurav Gogoi requested Chief Minister Sarma to be present in the assembly. Sarma retorted, saying, “Please do not lecture me on what to do. Whether I decide to go to the assembly or a court of law against you, I will make that decision myself.”

In one tweet, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma defended the rights of family members of BJP politicians to operate their own companies and seek government subsidies if they meet the eligibility criteria. He stated, “All family members of BJP politicians have the right to run their own companies and seek government subsidies if they are entitled to them. This is true for everyone. However, I would like to clarify that in this particular case, my wife has not even claimed the subsidy.”

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In response to the allegations, Riniki Bhuyan Sharma, owner of the implicated company, Pride East Entertainments Pvt Ltd, announced her intention to take the matter to court. She expressed her intention to file a defamation case seeking Rs. 10 crore in damages, stating, “This is nothing but an attack to malign and defame a 17-year-old Assamese enterprise, which has adhered to every aspect of the law, headed by a women entrepreneur. To protect the reputation of our hardworking employees from this slanderous campaign of Sri Gaurav Gogoi-Hon’ble Member of Parliament, I am thereby constrained to file a case of defamation with Rs. 10 crore in damages against him in the court of law.”

In the midst of the Twitter exchange, Gaurav Gogoi also expressed his intention to take the matter further. He stated his desire to request an inquiry from the official Twitter handle of the Prime Minister’s Office, writing, “@PMOIndia, I want to request an enquiry into how the Commerce Ministry approved a Rs 10 crore grant for a BJP Chief Minister’s family.”

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