Alleging that the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) is not on the lines promised by the UPA government in the wake of 26/11, the Bharatiya Janata Party today demanded that a meeting of the Inter-State Council be called to discuss the matter instead of forming it through an executive order.
The opposition party also asserted that since law and order is a State subject, the government should keep the States in the loop in the functioning of NCTC. Not doing so — as envisaged in the proposed NCTC— is a breach of the federal structure, it alleged.
“In November 2009, Home Minister P. Chidambaram had said NCTC would be an over-arching body bringing better coordination, synergy and dynamism among the various agencies such as RAW, IB, NIA and NSG. Presently, as things stand the NCTC is reduced to be yet another agency under IB,” BJP spokesperson Jagat Prakash Nadda said.
Nine Chief Ministers, including West Bengal’s Mamta Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart J. Jayalalithaa, have opposed NCTC on the grounds that it is against federalism.
“In setting up NCTC without consultation, usurping what is necessarily in the States’ domain, the UPA has clearly attacked the basic federal structure of our Constitution. No wonder the States are standing up against it,” Mr. Nadda said.
The BJP demanded that a meeting of the Inter-State Council be called to discuss this matter immediately.
The opposition accused the UPA of playing vote bank politics by arrogating powers to itself without any concern for the States.
“On the one hand, they are not facilitating State governments in their fight against terrorism. Gujarat government’s GUJCOC (Bill for prevention of Organised Crime) is for years awaiting Central clearance while Maharashtra has a comparable law now for years,” Mr. Nadda said.
BJP alleged that the Congress-led UPA government was arrogant and had taken decisions on several critical matters with hardly any consultation with the States.
“The way in which the NCTC is being set up by an executive order without even consulting the States is now being objected to by even UPA’s own allies such as the Trinamool Congress,” Mr. Nadda said.
He insisted that the Teesta water agreement with Bangladesh, FDI in multi brand retail and communal violence bill are recent examples of how the central government has “bulldozed” its agenda under the garb of “right to do so”.
Moreover, the UPA is running a campaign “to colour code terror rather than fighting it,” the BJP said.
The main opposition also clarified that it had made its stand on NCTC clear in Parliament earlier.
‘Centre to allay concerns’
Amid escalating row over the Centre’s proposal for NCTC, Congress today struck a conciliatory note saying the government will definitely try to address concerns raised by UPA ally Mamata Banerjee and Chief Ministers of non-UPA States on the issue.
“If so many Chief Ministers have expressed their concerns, the Central government will talk to them, will certainly try to resolve their concerns and allay their apprehensions,” party spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
The assertion by the party, an apparently softening from yesterday’s aggressive posturing, comes as anti-NCTC clamour has become louder with more non-Congress Chief Ministers joining Ms. Banerjee on the issue.