NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday admitted that UPA ally and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had a big role to play in getting it to agree to hold a separate meeting of Chief Ministers to exclusively discuss the setting up of the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre.
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, announcing that he had written to the Chief Ministers that the meeting would be held on May 5, said, “Chief Minister of West Bengal is one of the three Chief Ministers who asked for separate meeting on NCTC. Prime Minister has agreed.”
Fearing that opposition from the states could derail the NCTC plan for good, National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon had also made a statement on Monday that “events (like terrorist attacks) will not wait upon us for a decision” or consensus on NCTC.
On Tuesday, Chidambaram too made a similar plea. He pointed out that over 100 terror incidents had taken place in 2011 worldwide, with the bulk of them having occurred in Afghanistan, Iraq, India, Pakistan and Thailand.
“If you read the executive order of NCTC carefully, it reflects the legal position as can be found in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The (32-member NCTC) Standing Council will have 28 members from the states,” Chidambaram said, trying to assuage States’ fears that the Centre would be infringing on their rights.
The Home Minister said he was hopeful that a consensus would evolve out
of the Chief Minister’s meeting.