Mamata questions Rajnath's Bengal tour, BJP hits back

Written by: IANS
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Kolkata, March 31: Wondering whether Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to West Bengal, including to enclaves on the India-Bangladesh border, was "political" or "official", Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday slammed the Centre for not holding any "prior discussion" with the state government on the tour.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), heading the government at the Centre, dismissed her charges and accused Banerjee of politicising a matter concerning national security. [Mamata government is anti-farmer: BJP]

Mamata Banerjee

"Today Rajnath Singh ji has visited Chhit-Mahal areas in Cooch Behar, along with BJP MPs. Is it an official visit or a political visit?

"No prior discussion or consultation about the visit was made with us, though Chhit-Mahal and law and order fall within the jurisdiction of state government," Banerjee posted on Facebook and Twitter.

"It is customary to have prior discussion in such cases with the state government. I have only received a fax message of his tour. I think in our federal structure, we must respect each other's jurisdiction," she said.

Refuting Banerjee's claims, BJP national secretary Siddhartha Nath Singh asserted that the home minister's office had informed the state government on March 25 about the visit.

"Irrespective of the Centre's cooperation with the state, Mamata Banerjee continues to politicise something that is related to national security," Siddhartha Nath Singh said.

He claimed that the home minister's office on March 25 had communicated about the visit to the secretary to the Bengal governor, to the chief minister's secretary and other officials concerned including the state home and chief secretaries.

"To say that she was not aware (about Rajnath Singh's visit), I don't know what system she is running. She wants to politicise the matter because she is unable to control Bangladeshi infiltrations. The border is porous here, which she has been using to win elections through foreign votes," he said.

"Be it the Ranaghat nun's rape or the Burdwan blast, we have seen how Bangladeshi terrorist groups have come into Bengal and spread their wings here. And the state administration has failed to arrest this terror factory in Bengal," said Siddhartha Nath Singh, who is also the BJP observer for the state.

He was referring to the gang rape of a septuagenarian nun in Ranaghat in Nadia district as well as the October 2, 2014 blast in Burdwan in which the National Investigation Agency has uncovered a conspiracy by the militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh to overthrow the elected government in Dhaka.

On a two-day visit to the state, Rajnath Singh on Tuesday surveyed the India-Bangladesh border and visited border enclaves in Cooch Behar district. He also met officers of the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB).

He is scheduled to visit the India-Bangladesh border in Sundarbans on Wednesday.


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