Crackdown on drugs, border disputes mark 100 days of Himanta government

By PTI

GUWAHATI: The BJP-led Assam government’s Cabinet meet at Dhemaji in the northern part of the state on Thursday has been criticised by an MLA of the saffron party who termed it as an “unnecessary extravaganza”.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, said since Assam is an emerging state and not a poor one, everything will be done in a “lavish way”.

Mrinal Saikia, the two-time BJP legislator from Khumtai, had tweeted on Wednesday that though it was a good decision to hold the Cabinet meet in a remote district, he questioned the “extravagant affair”.

“Holding of Cabinet in a remote district is great but what is the need of spending money in ‘jaakjomokota’ (lavishness) and carrying journalists from Guahati to publicise it. Decisions of Cabinet has always been welcomed by public without such extravaganza,” he wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Besides government facilities and roads getting a facelift for the occasion, fairy lights and banners were placed across Dhemaji, the MLA said.

The chief minister, justifying the decision, said in Dhemaji on Thursday, “According to me, everything in Assam will be done in a lavish way. We are not a poor state but an emerging state.”

“The Assamese people do everything extravagantly, that is our old practice. If we don’t put up some banners, how would Dhemaji people know that we are here?” he added.

Sarma further said Assam has to move towards an entrepreneurship-based state from the mentality of being a poor state.

State Parliamentary Affairs and Information and Public Relations Minister Pijush Hazarika had also tweeted on Thursday in support of the government’s decision of holding the Cabinet meeting at Dhemaji.

“Mrinal da, you are misinformed, GOA (government of Assam) hasn’t spent a single penny to carry journalists from Guwahati to Dhemaji,” Hazarika had tweeted in reply to Saikia.

BJP legislator Manab Deka said the arrangements at Dhemaji were made by the people on their own as the people of Dhemaji and Lakhimpur are known for their hospitability.

The legislator from Lakhimpur, bordering Dhemaji, tweeted, “The people of Dhemaji are delighted by the decision of hosting cabinet at Dhemaji. The public of Dhemaji has organised these things by their own will. We should rather respect their sentiments.”

Dhemaji is represented by Education Minister Ranoj Pegu in the state Assembly.

The state Cabinet had on August 20 decided to hold one of its meetings every month in a district headquarter, with Dhemaji chosen as the first venue.

Bongaigaon will host a Cabinet meeting in November, while the December meeting will be held in Haflong.