Dooars (West Bengal), Dec 27: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday reached Dooars on way to see the condition of living of around 1,000 people who have come from Assam following the violence unleashed by the NDFB(S) faction and taken shelter in Kumargram in Alipurduar district of North Bengal. [Is a rebellion brewing within the Trinamool Congress?]
Banerjee told reporters at Siliguri's Bagdogra Airport that her government would do its best for the well-being of those people.
However, local media reports said that Banerjee's visit to North Bengal was so secret that even her government and party had no prior information about it.
Even though the chief minister said in a statement on Thursday that her government would stand by the Assamese people seeking shelter in Bengal, but there was no official announcement about her visit to North Bengal to oversee the situation in the shelter. Even North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb was not aware about the chief minister's visit.
But why did Banerjee make a secret visit to North Bengal? Close observers feel that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo is trying to utilise whatever scope she gets to project her government's humanitarian face.
The TMC has been rattled by the twin issues of Saradha chit fund scam and functioning of Bangaldeshi terror modules from the soil of Bengal and one of Banerjee's ministers besides two MPs have been arrested in connection to the chit fund scam.
The theory that a number of TMC leaders are eager to join the BJP, which is slowly spreading its wings in the state, has also caused much headache for the top leadership of the ruling party. The humanitarian visit to Kumargram is an effort to take a lead over the BJP, observers said.
Sources in the TMC said the worried chief minister did not even announce her visit before fearing if the BJP went ahead to win the sympathy from the Assamese refugees in North Bengal and gain some ground there.
The competition for political resources between the TMC and BJP is getting fierce with each passing day and it has even made an otherwise vocal Banerjee silent while pursuing her goal.
Banerjee is scheduled to return to Kolkata on Saturday afternoon. She spent the night on Friday at a forest bungalow in Chapramari in Dooars.