Counter –terror centre: Gujarat, Odisha and Tamil Nadu CMs discuss pressure tactics
United by their opposition to the proposed National Counter-Terrorism Centre, Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Odisha, Narendra Modi and Navin Patnaik, on Monday met their Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa in New Delhi to mount pressure against the Centre’s move.
Modi and Patnaik met Ms. Jayalalithaa at the Tamil Nadu House separately after attending the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Patnaik was the first to meet Ms. Jayalalithaa for over 25 minutes. After the meeting, Patnaik refused to divulge what transpired at the meeting, merely saying it was a courtesy call as Ms. Jayallithaa is an “old family friend of my father.”
Soon after, Modi met Ms. Jayalalithaa for 40 minutes and refused to speak to the waiting media. Ms. Jayalalithaa also did not speak to the media. All the three leaders have been against the setting up of the NCTC and have expressed their displeasure in public several times. Ms. Jayalalithaa and Modi had written to Dr. Singh in this regard. There was no official word on Ms. Jayalalithaa’s meetings with Mr. Modi and Mr. Patnaik. However, it is understood that the leaders discussed a joint strategy to target the Centre on NCTC and various other issues.
The meeting assumes significance as non-Congress State governments are opposing the creation of a counter-terrorism centre and proposed amendments to the BSF Act, maintaining that the two infringe upon the States’ rights in a federal set up.
Earlier, at the meeting, Ms. Jayalalithaa warned against an “emerging pattern” wherein the State’s powers are “abrogated” by the Centre through passage of bills and accused it of showing “scant respect” for State governments.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was also scheduled to meet Ms. Jayalalithaa, but could not make it as he got delayed at the conference.
Expressing similar sentiments, Modi criticised the Centre for its “non-consultative” approach with the state governments on key security issues and accused it of creating “state within state” by bringing amendments to RPF Act, BSF Act which take away powers from the state police and meddling with subjects under the State list.
In his address, Patnaik sought urgent consultations between the Centre and the States over issues like the NCTC, saying any delay would affect handling of law and order.
J. Jayalalithaa on Monday warned against an “emerging pattern” wherein the State’s powers are “abrogated” by the Centre through passage of bills and accused it of showing “scant respect” for State governments. In an all-round attack on the Congress-led UPA, Ms. Jayalalithaa accused the Central government of “encroaching on State powers” through the National Counter Terrorism Centre which was in “contravention” to constitutional provisions that accord priority status to police in the State list. Addressing the Chief Ministers’ Conference on Internal Security in New Delhi, she claimed that the Centre unilaterally decided on the Indo-U.S. joint naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal without taking the State government into confidence. “Lack of consultation with the States and failure to take the States into confidence is a cogent commentary on the system of governance in the Centre.
“...This is not all. Adding insult to injury, the Central government did not permit the Consul-General of the U.S. Consulate, Chennai, and senior Indian Navy Officials based in Chennai to meet me as the constitutional Head of the Government,” she said. Ms. Jayalalithaa, who is opposed to the NCTC, said this implies that the Central government has “scant respect” for constitutionally-elected State governments.
She also expressed the hope that the Centre follow the principle of prior consultation with the Sate governments, whenever such important decisions are taken by the Central government. “No doubt, it is a pre-arranged exercise according to the prescribed tenets under covenant between two countries. Even so, is it too much to expect to be kept informed?” she asked.
- Asian Tribune -