Rajnath ignored Assam government on Bangladesh border visit: Gogoi

Guwahati, Jan 3 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to areas in Assam’s Barak Valley along the India-Bangladesh international border without taking the state government into confidence was “unfortunate” and in violation of the spirit of cooperative federalism, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said on Sunday.

“We welcome the union home minister’s border visit. However, not taking the Assam government’s representative along with him in spite of its request is a violation of the spirit of cooperative federalism and the NDA government’s much vaunted rhetoric of Team India,” Gogoi said.

Rajnath Singh reached Silchar on Sunday and visited the Steamerghat border outpost along the international border in Karimganj district.

While he was accompanied by union Sports Minister and state BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal and a delegation of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), there was no one from the state government.

Gogoi said the state government has an important role in safeguarding the border and hence the Assam government should have been taken into confidence for making the border visit more meaningful.

“Never before in my long political career, has the state government been ignored like this,” he said.

Gogoi said Rajnath Singh’s action was tantamount to negating the constitutional provisions where law and order is a state subject.

He said a request was made to accommodate Inspector General H.C. Nath as a state government representative.

“The request was turned down citing space constraints. However, in addition to the name of 13 people mentioned in the manifest, (BJP leaders) Himanta Biswa Sharma and Mahendra Singh were accommodated for the border visit.

“Taking political leaders and ignoring government officials to solve a problem where the state’s interest is involved will not go down well. This also exposes partisan attitude of none other than the union home Minister,” Gogoi said.

“Everybody knows law and order is a state subject and the Assam government is extending full cooperation to the central security agencies in guarding the international border along with checking infiltration,” he added.

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