GUWAHATI: The Assam Assembly faced multiple adjournments on Friday after the opposition created chaos in the House demanding a discussion on the allegations surrounding the allocation of land and government grants to a company owned by Chief Minster Himanta Biswa Sarma’s wife.
During the question hour, Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha sought clarifications from Jogen Mohan, the state Revenue and Disaster Management Minister, on whether land allotted to Pride East Entertainment for a proposed food processing plant was under the state’s Basundhara scheme.
However, Speaker Biswajit Daimary dismissed the line of questioning as unrelated to the original query, leading to a fierce exchange. This verbal spar among various ministers and opposition members culminated in the House being adjourned for 30 minutes.
On reconvening, Debabrata Saikia, the Leader of the Opposition, tried redirecting the discussion to the contentious issue, only to be denied by Deputy Speaker Numal Momin. This prompted Congress MLAs, along with representatives from the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and an independent MLA, to voice their protest. Their outcry was mirrored by leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party, leading to another two consecutive adjournments, each lasting 15 minutes.
Later in the day, MP Gaurav Gogoi held a press conference, addressing the issue and demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Sarma. Gogoi also pressed for a comprehensive investigation into the swift acquisition of significant agricultural land by a media house associated with the Chief Minister’s family. He also highlighted the lightning-fast transformation of the said land into industrial property calling for a thorough inquiry to safeguard transparency and ethical standards.
Gogoi has urged Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to reveal the precise amount of grants and subsidies received by M/S Pride East Entertainment from the Assam state government, if any. He also stressed the importance of upholding consistent ethical standards for both central and state government grants, asserting that if accepting grants from the Centre is deemed unethical, the same principle should apply to state government grants.
In response to the possibility of defamation proceedings, Gogoi welcomed any legal action and assured that the accused company will be obligated to present all pertinent documents, including land and bank records, in a court of law.
Earlier on Thursday, Riniki Bhuyan Sarma, wife of Assam Chief Minister Sarma, had threatened to file a Rs 10 crore defamation lawsuit against the Congress MP for alleging that her company, Pride East Entertainment, received a subsidy of Rs 10 crore by the Centre under the PM Kisan Sampada Scheme.