Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is BJP’s man of the moment as the Maharashtra political crisis moves Northeast with rebel Shiv Sena MLAs headed by Eknath Shinde reaching Guwahati Airport on Wednesday morning.
The MLAs arrived to a grand arrangement in Assam, which included three buses ready for them and two important BJP MLAs who came to receive Shinde and company. They then proceeded to the Radisson Blu hotel from where, interestingly, Sharma made an exit before the MLAs reached.
As Sarma takes over the reins of the Maharashtra operation, a question that crops up is: How was Assam chosen as a safe haven for rebel MLAs?
BJP sources say the ruling party at the Centre considers Assam safe since the BJP is dominant there and the Shiv Sena or Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray can exert absolutely no influence in the state.
Another crucial aspect is the BJP brass’s faith in Sarma. Party insiders say the chief minister is capable of executing the operation smoothly. Given that the state was prepared to receive the MLAs and Sarma himself looked into every nitty-gritty of the operation, the BJP’s faith seems to be placed in the right man.
While Sarma kept an eye on preparations in the hotel, his two important and trusted lieutenants were at Guwahati Airport.
Political experts say Sarma, with his experience of poaching and settling numbers in Manipur and Meghalaya in previous assembly polls of 2017 and 2018, has the acumen to successfully carry out the Maharashtra operation for the BJP.
According to a BJP leader: “If this operation is successful, it will proved once again that Sarma is a good performer.”
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