New Delhi: Opposition chief ministers Monday used the annual meet on security
to attack the government over the proposed National Counter
Terrorism Centre, claiming it was against federalism even as Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh reached out to them saying the issue will
be discussed separately May 5.
"We will discuss the National Counter Terrorism Centre on May 5 in
a separate meeting as some chief ministers suggested," the prime
minister said addressing the meet.
Later, in order to build pressure on the government, non-Congress
chief ministers held separate parleys. J. Jayalalithaa of Tamil
Nadu, Naveen Patnaik of Odisha, Narendra Modi of Gujarat and
Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal, all of whom
are opposed to the NCTC,joined in the talks.
United Progressive Alliance partner Trinamool Congress chief and
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is also opposed to
the NCTC, did not attend the opposition meeting.
The chief ministers claim that giving police powers to the
proposed NCTC will trample upon the rights of the states and
impact the federal structure of the country.
While Modi said the move was creating distrust between the central
government and the states, Jayalalithaa said it has reduced the
states to "glorified municipalities".
"Along expected lines," is how Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister
Omar Abdullah chose to describe the opposition chief ministers'
remarks in his Tweet message.
"Whether it is the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC),
Railway Protection Force or the Border Security Force, the
government's unilateral activity is creating an atmosphere of
distrust between the centre and the state... I urge Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh to bridge the gap," Modi told reporters at the
Jayalalithaa accused the central government of bringing the states
down to the level of glorified municipal corporations by
restricting their operational magnitude, tightening finances and
encroaching upon states' powers.
"The constant attempts to reduce states to the level of glorified
Municipal Corporations heavily dependent on the centre for funds
is a travesty of the federal nature of our existence. This
attitude is disturbing and the implication of such exercises is
not conducive to either state or national growth," she said.
Earlier, the prime minister opened the annual chief ministers'
meet on security and said left-wing extremism, religious
fundamentalism, ethnic violence and terrorism are major challenges
facing the country.
He urged states to fight these challenges together with the
"Left-wing extremism, religious fundamentalism, ethnic violence
and terrorism are the major internal security challenges facing
the country... I urge the states to fight them together with the
centre," Manmohan Singh said.