‘Meet in court’: CM Himanta Sarma, Gaurav Gogoi spar over ‘ ₹10 cr govt subsidy’ claim
Both the Assam CM, Congress MP lock horns with a series of fresh attacks over Opposition's earlier claim of receiving ‘grant from government scheme’.
What began as an allegation of blatant favouritism by the Centre towards Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has now turned into a political spar between the CM and Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi. The Opposition had earlier said that a firm run by Sarma's wife Rinki Bhuyan Sharma allegedly received a grant worth ₹10 crore from the central government under a subsidy scheme, a claim that was dismissed by the Assam CM, which stirred up a political storm.
The matter blew up when Gogoi backed his claim with a reply given on the matter by Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal in Parliament. The response mentions that Pride East Entertainments Private Limited, a media company headed by CM's wife, was sanctioned ₹25.877 crore under a central initiative to invest in Assam to support industries there. Earlier, the Congress MP shared a screengrab from the Union food processing ministry website which pointed out that the same firm had been approved a grant of ₹10 crore out of ₹25.877 crore sanctioned amount under Centre's Kisan Sampada scheme.
Responding to Gogoi's post, Sarma reiterated that neither his wife nor the company she is associated with received any amount from the central government. He further said that he is willing to accept any punishment, which includes his retirement from public life, if an evidence is provided against his response.
"The reply itself clarifies the fact that the Government of India has not released any funds to the mentioned company," CM Sarma said.
“Is Hon’ble chief minister complaining to Union minister Piyush Goyal?” Gogoi asked in a further post after Sarma's reply. “He is saying that Piyush Goyal has only approved the grant to the wife of Himanta Biswa Sarma but has not released the funds,” he added. Sarma reponded again restating his earlier claim.
Gogoi further asked CM Sarma to respond to the adjournment notice by Congress MLAs in the assembly over the matter, ‘instead of typing on Twitter (X)’. To which, Sarma asked Gogoi not to lecture him. “Whether I decide to go to the assembly or a court of law against you, I will make that decision myself,” the Assam CM responded.
“Please do not get agitated,” Gogoi said in his next post. Sarma said he is agitated because of numerous reasons which included his anger against Gogoi's family since 2010. “I am confident that we will meet in court, and once again, I will be able to prove my point. I have successfully done so in 2016 and 2021, and I am determined to do it again,” he added.
Urging Prime Minister Narendra Modi to order an inquiry into the ‘ ₹10 crore government subsidy’ claim, Gogoi said, “You are free to choose your path. But please attend the assembly and address the issue. It is not your privilege but your duty to the people.”