Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday questioned the moral and constitutional authority of the SAD-BJP government in rejecting the central government’s proposal to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).
The ruling alliance, in reply, hit out at Amarinder for “betraying” the interests of the state.
Capt Singh said that fighting terrorism was the collective responsibility of both the Centre and the states.
He said the Congress government to be formed in Punjab after the declaration of results of the assembly elections would review the SAD-BJP decision while keeping in view the national interest and challenges posed by terrorism across the country. “The decision should be taken by an elected and not a caretaker government,” the state Congress chief said.
Amarinder said such a decision should have been left to the next government going to be formed very soon. He said as of now the SAD-BJP alliance had no mandate to take any policy decisions since it is only a “temporary arrangement” till the declaration of results.
In reply, the Shiromani Akali Dal said the state Congress chief’s statements were “a betrayal of the interests of the state”. SAD secretary and spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema said that by opposing the “nefarious” designs of the UPA government, the SAD-BJP government had performed its bonafide duty and reiterated its commitment to the interests of the state.
He said it was ridiculous that Capt Amarinder Singh was opposing the SAD-BJP stand simply to please Congress president Sonia Gandhi and for narrow political gains.
The SAD leader said it was surprising that Amarinder was toeing a line claiming that terrorism was the collective responsibility of the nation forgetting that repeated Congress governments at the Centre “failed to wave off the loan” of the Punjab government which was raised for fighting militancy not only in the state but for the whole country. This shows the “double standards” of the Congress party, Cheema said.
He said the new proposal of the Centre is aimed at curtailing the powers of state governments, which is against the basic spirit of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. “The SAD-BJP alliance is serious and sincere in dealing with the matter concerning the state,” he said. “It is the Congress which has time and again worked against the interests of the state.”
Cheema said that it was surprising that while 14 chief ministers, including those allied with the UPA, had opposed this “anti-federal” move of the Congress-led UPA government, the Punjab Congress president had preferred to support it, ignoring all the damage it would do to the states.