As Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray pulls out all stops to save his government from senior Sena leader Eknath Shinde’s rebellion, the BJP has been keeping a close watch on the happenings in the state but has refrained from overt gestures.
The presence of the saffron party at Assam’s Gopinath Bordoloi Airport to receive Shiv Sena rebels and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s visit to Radisson Blu — and quick exit — before the rebels arrived all hint at the BJP’s strategising.
News18 had earlier reported that BJP sources say the ruling party at the Centre considers Assam safe since the BJP is dominant there and the Sena or Uddhav Thackeray can exert absolutely no influence in the state. Also, insiders say the chief minister is capable of executing the operation smoothly.
However, the BJP’s “hospitality” has not gone down well with the Congress and the TMC, especially in the wake of the Assam floods. Lashing out at the BJP, Assam Congress president Bhupen Bora said at a time when 88 people had died in the state due to floods and many were homeless, the chief minister was extending hospitality to MLAs who want to oust the government in Maharashtra.
Taking to Twitter, the TMC said:
No clean drinking water.
No effective management of the crisis.
No care for people’s suffering.
No leader in sight, standing beside people.
Only 40 MLAs from a different state. @BJP4Assam indulges in petty politics alongside the most INSENSITIVE CM @himantabiswa!
On its part, the BJP has been managing the optics, with Sarma doing a recce of flood-affected areas of Naugaon for an entire day.
Speaking on the issue, Sarma said: “Why should there be reason for any controversy regarding their visit? We welcome all tourists to visit Assam now as we need funds to deal with floods."
Minister Piyush Hazarika said: “The opposition can say what they want. From morning to evening, our chief minister and other ministers were there with flood-affected people. Those who have come from Maharashtra, we welcome them, but our focus is obviously floods.”
Party insiders say BJP Assam’s focus is on the floods as Operation Maharashtra remains covert.
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