The Congress proposal for the setting up of a Central Law Enforcement Agency not only continues to face resistance from regional parties but central and state leaders of national parties also differ on the matter.
BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar indicated his willingness to discuss the idea at the “proper forum” but remained non-committal on the BJP-ruled Rajasthan government’s opposition to the move.
Barring exceptions, most state governments opposed the idea of a central agency at a meeting of state chief secretaries called by the Home Ministry last August.
The Rajasthan government had opposed it on grounds that the functions of the state police would get duplicated and thereby violate the spirit of the federal structure laid down by the Constitution. Other states having opposed the proposal included Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
The CPI(M)’s Mohammed Salim said it is more important to strengthen the existing intelligence agencies and ensure better coordination between the different outfits engaged in intelligence gathering. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Yerran Naidu said the existing Constitutional arrangement of power sharing between the central and state governments could be altered only after arriving at a political consensus. The Union government must convene an all-party meeting or discuss the subject at a meeting of the National Development Council or the National Integration Council, he said.
Reiterating his party’s support to the idea, senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the situation had now become untenable and the country would urgently have to take a call on the subject.
Shahid Siddiqui (Samajwadi Party) warned against the dangers of empowering a central agency with unbridled powers but said the subject could be discussed at the appropriate level.