NEW DELHI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Monday took the lead among non-Congress States to launch an offensive against the UPA for making attempts to usurp the powers of the States through the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) and the Railway Protection Act, virtually defeating the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’ efforts to soothe frayed political nerves.
Though the Ministry of Home Affairs has called a special meeting of the States on May 5 to allay fears on the NCTC, the non-Congress chief ministers have widened the gap against the Manmohan Singh government’s intrusive policies by bringing in other legislation in the basket of discontent. What started with discontent against the formation of the anti-terror body having wide-ranging powers has spread to include amendments in legislation governing two paramilitary forces — the Railway Protection Force and the Border Security Force.
In a show of strength, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi and Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik held separate meetings with Jayalalithaa at Tamil Nadu Bhawan after attending the conference. Though both the CMs termed the meeting as a courtesy call, it is understood that the three discussed the strategy to counter the Centre on NCTC and other issues.
This parallel meeting also revealed the growing distrust between the non-Congress States and the Congress-led Centre over issues of setting up NCTC and the proposed amendments to the BSF Act. All the three CMs have said that these moves would infringe on the States’ rights in a federal set up.
Speaking at the chief ministers’ conference, Jayalalithaa and Modi, slammed the Centre for taking “unilateral decisions” and “encroaching on States’ powers”. Jayalalithaa in her speech said the constant attempts to reduce the States to the level of “glorified Municipal Corporations” heavily dependent on the Centre for funds is a travesty of the federal nature of the Constitution.