Riniki Bhuyan Sarma. File | Photo Credit: Photo:
The Assam Assembly was adjourned multiple times on September 15 as the Opposition MLAs sought answers from the government over the allegations that a company linked to CM Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife received Central subsidy in connection with a plot of land.
The issue was first raised by Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha during Question Hour, when he asked Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Jogen Mohan if the land in the Kaliabor area was allotted under the State’s ‘Basundhara’ scheme. He also asked what documents were submitted to seek the allotment of the land.
Speaker Biswajit Daimary maintained that the matter was not related to the original question listed by Mr. Purkayastha and that the Chief Minister was not present in the House.
However, Mr. Purkayastha persisted with the question, with several Ministers getting on their feet and trading barbs with the Opposition legislators. As the chaos continued, the Speaker adjourned the House for 30 minutes.
After the House reconvened, Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia of the Congress drew the attention of the Chair to the notice he gave for the discussion of the matter during Zero Hour.
As Deputy Speaker Numal Momin, who was in the chair, did not allow an immediate discussion, Congress MLAs along with the lone CPI(M) legislator and an Independent MLA tooped to the Well of the House, and began a dharna. Mr. Saikia also demanded an inquiry into the allegations against the Chief Minister’s wife.
The MLAs of the ruling BJP also went to the Well, and the chaos escalated. As both sides refused to budge, the House was adjourned for five minutes.
When the House reassembled after the second adjournment, the chaos continued with the Opposition MLAs raising slogans against the government from the Well.
Mr. Momin said, “You will be allowed (to raise the matter), but you have to keep patience.” As BJP MLAs also got into the Well, and the ruckus went on, the House was again adjourned for 15 minutes.
The issue also rocked the Assembly on Thursday, following which the Opposition staged a walkout. Friday is the last sitting of the autumn session of the Assembly.
The Chief Minister had on September 14 said he was willing to accept any punishment, including retirement from public life, if there was any evidence that his wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma or her company Pride East Entertainment received or claimed any amount from the Centre.
Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi on Wednesday alleged that the company got a credit subsidy of ₹10 crore from the Center under a scheme.