A day after non-Congress Chief Ministers and an ally attacked the Centre over NCTC, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday lamented the “mistrust” harboured by some states and expressed confidence that the issue would be resolved in the May 5 meeting.
Answering criticism that the Centre was making inroads into states’ powers, he said the Centre would “step back” for every step taken by the state governments in fighting terror, Maoists and accept responsibility for border management.
Responding to questions at a press conference where he was asked about the attack on the Centre by some Chief Ministers at the conference on internal security on Monday, Mr. Chidambaram said after the conference, it is a matter of deep regret that there is still some suspicion of the Central government.
“It is unfortunate that some states harbour mistrust against the Central government...The Central government is willing to step back, if a state or states willing to accept more responsibility,” he said.
At the conference on Monday, non-Congress Chief Ministers Jayalalithaa, Narendra Modi, Naveen Patnaik and Mamata Banerjee were sharply critical of the proposal on NCTC and other legislations that were viewed by them as encroaching on states’ policing powers.
Ms Jayalalithaa, Mr. Modi and Mr. Patnaik met separately after the conference and are understood to have discussed the strategy to oppose the NCTC at the May 5 meeting which has been convened specially to discuss the issue.
Mr. Chidambaram said it was wrong to say that all states were critical of the Central government’s role and policies as a vast majority of states have no distrust of the Central government.
“By and large, all states recognised that we are together -- states and Centre are together. There is no way the states can fight terror or militancy or naxalism without the support of Centre. And we never said Centre can do it without involving the states.
“So, everybody recognised explicitly in most cases and implicitly in a few cases that we are in this together. Every Chief Ministers said give us more money. So at least one cord that binds us -- that is money,” he said.
Referring to NCTC, the Home Minister said only two Chief Ministers made passing remarks on that subject but there were many others who emphasised the need for Centre and states to cooperate in fighting terrorism as well Left Wing Extremism.
“We had already circulated the agenda which contains the notes on NCTC and I have already offered that the draft of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) will be circulated before the next meeting.
“We will circulate the draft of the SOP before the meeting on the May. I am confident that May 5 meeting will resolve whatever few differences there are between some states and Central government,” he said.
To a question, he said the Central government had said nothing provocative. “Nothing provocative. We have repeatedly said the frontline responsibility is always with the state governments”.