Non-Congress CMs unite against Centre

- Agencies
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They say that the Centre did not consult them on key security issues

In discussionA combo picture shows the Chief Ministers of different States during the Chief Minister's Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi on Monday.— Photo: PTI
In discussionA combo picture shows the Chief Ministers of different States during the Chief Minister's Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi on Monday.— Photo: PTI

Chief Ministers of non-Congress states today accused the Centre of not consulting them on key security issues while UPA ally Trinamool Congress opposed the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) as it “upsets” the federal structure.

Speaking at the meeting of Chief Ministers on internal security convened by the Union Home Ministry, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi opposed the Centre's move to set up the NCTC.

In her speech, Jayalalithaa hit out at the Centre for “encroaching on state powers” through the setting up of the NCTC which was in “contravention” to constitutional provisions that accorded priority status to police in the State list.

Modi said the Centre was adopting a “non-consultative” approach with state governments on key security issues. He said Centre was trying to take away powers from the state police.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh said the issue of the establishment of NCTC requires a national consensus as “it must not adversely affect our federal structure”.Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hoped the issue of consultations with the states scheduled for May 5 is taken seriously. He said Maoists were trying to open new fronts on the Odisha – Chhatisgarh border by expanding activities to bordering districts and that lack of assistance from the Centre was posing difficulties for the state.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also criticised the Centre for not consulting the states. “It is being increasingly felt that the state governments are not being consulted before the formulation of the policies and making of new laws, rather the prepared drafts are sent for their comments,” he said.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also expressed concern. “Although, a meeting was held in March, it served little purpose and we are not aware of any positive outcome of that meeting.

In any case, the core issue being violation of the principle of federalism, the only level at which meaningful discussion could be held is between heads of government at the Centre and States,” he said.

PM requests cooperation

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who opened the meeting, urged States to work together with the Centre on issues such as left-wing extremism, religious fundamentalism, ethnic violence and terrorism.

“The internal security situation in the country since February 2011 has been by and large satisfactory,” he said.

However, there were several major challenges that need to be addressed together, he said.

The situation concerning left-wing extremism was better in 2011 than in 2010 but there was still a “long way to go”, he added.

He said the number of districts under the integrated action plan to push development has been increased from 60 to 78 across seven states affected by Maoist violence.

“Today, terrorist groups are nimble, more lethal than ever before and increasingly networked across frontiers,” said Singh. Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram also described left-wing extremism as the most formidable security challenge facing the country.- Agencies



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