Row over Rajnath Singh's visit to Teen Bigha as Mamata questions motive

A controversy on Tuesday erupted over Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Teen Bigha in West Bengal bordering Bangladesh.

Last Updated: Mar 31, 2015, 22:53 PM IST

Kolkata/Teen Bigha: A controversy on Tuesday erupted over Home Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Teen Bigha in West Bengal bordering Bangladesh.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee questioned the motive behind the trip while BJP accused her of politicizing a national security issue.

Banerjee said the Centre should have consulted the state government and wondered whether it was a 'political visit' by Singh with BJP MPs. Singh was accompanied by party MP SS Ahluwalia.

Banerjee posted on micro-blogging site Twitter: "Today Union Home Minister has visited Chhit-Mahal areas in Coochbehar, along with BJP MPs. Is it official visit or political visit."

She said no prior discussion or consultation about the visit was made with the state government, though Chhit-Mahal and law and order fell within the jurisdiction of the state government.

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

Asked why no West Bengal government official was present during his visit, Rajnath Singh told reporters in Teen Bigha "it is a visit to the forward areas of the border which is being looked after by the BSF."

Seeking to downplay the issue, he said the district administration is fully cooperating with the BSF authorities during his tour.

BJP leader Sidharth Nath Singh, who is the in-charge of party's affairs in West Bengal, refuted Banerjee's claim and said the Home Ministry had informed her office as well as that of the state Governor's on March 25 about Rajnath Singh's visit.

"All offices concerned were informed as per the protocol. The Chief Minister is again bringing politics into the matter of national security," he said.

Referring to the Burdwan blast, he said it was imperative for the Home Minister to visit these border areas.

Later HMO India also tweeted about it.

(With Agency inputs)