Bowing to pressure from its constituent, the Trinamool Congress, the UPA government on Tuesday agreed to hold a separate meeting of all Chief Ministers here on May 5 to discuss exclusively the issue of setting up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
Even as charges fly thick and fast that his government was ignoring consultations with the States and undermining the principles of federalism, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh instructed Home Minister P. Chidambaram to write to all Chief Ministers, informing them of the May 5 meeting.
Briefing journalists here, Mr. Chidambaram said three Chief Ministers had requested the Prime Minister for a separate meeting to discuss NCTC.
Several Chief Ministers including Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal and Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu have reiterated their demand for a separate meeting. The two are among the non-Congress Chief Ministers who have written to the Prime Minister criticising the Centre's move, on the ground that NCTC would violate the principles of federalism and encroach on their turf.
Others opposed to the NCTC proposal include Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Narendra Modi (Gujarat) and Manik Sarkar (Tripura).
During the press conference of the Group of Ministers on Media, Mr. Chidambaram said the conference of Chief Ministers on internal security would be held as scheduled on April 16. The agenda has already been sent to all of them.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and Law Minister Salman Khurshid were present.