The opposition of non-Congress chief ministers to the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) originates from a backdrop of issues that have agitated them, including the Centre’s alleged “neglect and discrimination”, slashing of power and PDS quota, “step-motherly” treatment in distributing calamity relief funds, and provision of “minimal” monetary resources for developmental programmes.
The chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Odisha showed a striking similarity in their views, offering almost the same arguments on why NCTC is a “bad idea” because it tramples on states’ rights.
Jayalalithaa, Narendra Modi and Naveen Patnaik had exchanged notes on the issue after meeting here on April 16. At the CMs’ conference on Saturday, Patnaik openly endorsed Jayalalithaa’s call for a smaller sub-committee of CMs to go into the issue.
To underscore their argument, both Jayalalithaa and Modi dwelt on the Second Administrative Reforms Commission’s 8th report on combating terrorism and the Kargil war report, which had exposed alleged chinks in intelligence gathering.
They also contended that the Intelligence Bureau should not be exposed to public scrutiny, when the nature of its work involved behind-the-scenes operations. While Modi was in favour of an Act similar to the now-nonexistent POTA, Jayalalitha suggested “a nodal mechanism for coordination with Central agencies” and a rapid counter-terrorist force for each state.
Besides these three chief ministers and Mamata Banerjee of West Bengal, dissenting voices could also be heard from UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, who found the standard operating procedures of the NCTC “infringing” upon the rights of the states, and Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah, who warned against independent operations that do not involve the state police.