Still no to NCTC: States don’t buy Centre’s hardsell

  • Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: May 06, 2012 09:16 IST
  • Narendra Modi-Jayalalithaa

    Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa exchange greetings at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in ...

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New Delhi. (PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist)

  • Jayalalithaa-Mamata Banerjee

    Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa and West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New ...

  • Home Minister P Chidambaram

    Home Minister P Chidambaram at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New Delhi. (PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist)

  • Home Minister P Chidambaram

    Home Minister P Chidambaram shakes hands with Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) ...

  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in New Delhi. (PTI ...

  • Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi

    Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in ...

  • NCTC meet

    Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, home minister P Chidambaram and defence minister AK Antony at the meeting of chief ministers on National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) ...

  • COMBO picture NCTC meet

    COMBO picture of chief ministers Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh), Arjun Munda (Jharkhand), Prithviraj Chavan (Maharashtra), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha), Omar Abdullah (J&K), Manik Sarkar (Tripura), Nitish Kumar ...

  • Home Minister P Chidambaram

    Home Minister P Chidambaram, MoS M Ramchandran, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan at the meeting of chief ministers on National ...

The chorus against the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) grew louder at the chief ministers’ conference on Saturday despite a dilution of its powers, forcing home minister P Chidambaram to send his blueprint for a one-stop counter-terror body back to the drawing board.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Gujarat’s Narendra Modi and J Jayalalithaa of Tamil Nadu led the onslaught. They accused the home ministry of trying to usurp the powers of the states and widening the “trust deficit” between the Centre and the states — a phrase Modi had used at the chief ministers’ conference last month.

By the end of the meeting, Chidambaram acknowledged that the chief ministers’ main concerns — the NCTC’s powers of arrest and its placement under the Intelligence Bureau — “are really true”.

“I have assured them that all their suggestions would be most carefully and anxiously considered,” he said.

It wasn’t only the NDA-Mamata combine that had concerns about the NCTC’s powers of arrest. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah too made it clear they weren’t comfortable with the NCTC’s powers to carry out arrests without keeping the states in the loop.

UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav too demanded a “rethink”.

Chidambaram, who had conceived the NCTC as an umbrella body two years ago, later told reporters that all chief ministers recognised the need for an NCTC or similar organisation, but there was no unanimity on its powers and functions.

While many chief ministers supported the NCTC, some extended qualified support and three outrightly rejected it.

Chidambaram refused to name the three chief ministers. A government official said the reluctance could be due to the overwhelming weight that the Centre accorded to keep Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress chief, in humour.

“I firmly believe we need a counter-terrorism body… Whether it is NCTC or some other body, whether it will have these powers or some other powers or functions is a matter that can be debated, but certainly we need a counter-terrorism body," Chidambaram said.

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