BJP paid all election trip costs of Himanta: Assam CM Office

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Guwahati, Feb 3 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has never gone for election campaigning on official expenses and every such cost was borne by the BJP, his office said on Saturday.

The chief minister's office issued the statement on expenditures in response to allegations regarding the use of public funds for chartering flights for BJP activities and attending weddings, as reported by two media outlets.

"No expenditure of HCM Dr @himantabiswa election campaigns are borne by the state exchequer. All expenses, including flights, are paid for by the political party via bank transfer/cheque," the CMO said in a post on X.

It, however, said whenever Sarma visits any district in the state or neighbouring states for official engagements, there could be social functions such as condolence meetings or weddings that coincide with the visit.

"Compared to all the official visits undertaken by HCM since May 2021, such coincidences are far and few. It is appalling to see the authors of this story make sweeping conjectures based on incidental social programmes which HCM has attended," the CMO said.

Referring to the news article, which hyperlinked several past tweets of the Chief Minister, his office said using a single tweet from a given day to assume it was the sole agenda of that very day reeks of a "malicious attempt to spread disinformation and dishonest intention of the authors".

Earlier during the day, two digital media organisations -- New Delhi-based The Wire and Guwahati-based The Crosscurrent -- in a joint investigative report claimed that Sarma used state government funds amounting to crores of rupees to hire helicopters and chartered planes to campaign for the BJP, both within and outside the state.

Slamming the report, the CMO said, "This story by 'The Wire' is mischievous, misleading and a lazy hit job based on selective reading of handful of tweets".

Citing RTI replies, the media portals stated that Sarma had also hired chartered planes with taxpayers' money to attend a number of weddings, apart from party meetings. PTI TR TR MNB

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