GUWAHATI: They may be bitter political foes, but that has not come in the way of the BJP government in Assam extending financial help to an ailing CPI leader and former parliamentarian for his medical treatment.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has announced that the state will give Rs 2 lakh for the treatment of 76year-old Drupad Borgohain, a former Rajya Sabha MP.
He also directed the district magistrate, superintendent of police and Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, also from the BJP, to visit him immediately and provide the veteran Communist Party of India (CPI) leader with all help.
"I came to know yesterday that Borgohain is unwell. I immediately released Rs 2 lakh from the chief minister's relief fund for his treatment. If required, more funds will be given to him for his medical expenses," Sonowal, 54, told PTI.
There have been bloody clashes between the Left and the BJP in Kerala in recent times, but Sonowal stressed the political atmosphere in Kerala could not be compared with that in Assam.
"In Assam, there are no violent clashes between political workers. Besides, Borgohain is one of the tallest leaders of the Northeast. So it is a small humanitarian gesture from our side," he said.
Borgohain is suffering from kidney related ailments. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha between 1998 and 2004, a former MLA in the Assam assembly and former secretary of the Assam state council of the CPI.
When asked to comment about the Assam chief minister's announcement, CPI national secretary D Raja said the state government was obliged to provide medical care to Borgohain as he was a former parliamentarian.
Sonowal said he took inspiration from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had said there were no enemies but only competitors in politics.
After the BJP's victory in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Modi said at a public rally in Vadodara, "There are no enemies, only competitors in politics and democracy".
"That's the beauty of democracy. The strength of democracy lies in taking everyone together," he had said.
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said in Lok Sabha on August 2 that at least 14 BJP workers were killed in Kerala.
On August 6, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley visited the family of an RSS activist who was murdered by suspected CPM workers in Kerala and called it the "most brutal and barbaric killing".
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, however, accused the BJP and RSS of "propagating lies" to "defame" the state.
At an all-party meeting held on August 6, Vijayan expressed concern over the depiction of Kerala as "troubletorn" and called for coordinated efforts of all political parties to end the violence.