NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: Suspecting a sinister design behind the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), prominent chief ministers led by Navin Patnaik have shot off angry letters advising the Prime Minister to refrain from moves which threaten Centre-state relations and adversely affect the federal structure of the Constitution.
The Tamil Nadu and Bihar chief ministers also issued statements against NCTC on February 17. It “can be misused to suit ends that are motivated by reasons other than fighting terrorism. Moreover, setting up of inter-state intelligence teams by the NCTC is tantamount to usurping the legitimate rights of the state,’’ Jayalalithaa pointed out.
The BJP and its chief ministers joined the chorus. J&K Minister Omar Abdullah too has joined in on Saturday, via an oppositional statement from father and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah.
The future looks grim for the government: the suspicion and collapse of cordiality is sure to have repercussions on the coming Budget Session of Parliament on March 14. The Finance Bill has to be passed and the Lokpal/Lokyukta bill is pending. Bhartrahari Mahtab—the BJD MP whose Lok Sabha speech during the Lokpal debate was watched on TV by Mamata and eventually led to the Trinamool Congress breaking ranks with its UPA allies in the Rajya Sabha—said the NCTC “will empower IB officials with the UAPA Act to roam around the states searching and arresting anyone they suspect, without the concurrence or knowledge of the CM or his officials. It’s a dangerous move.’’ But he admitted that the CMs doing a joint Operation Ambush “was a political move”.
The newly forged coalition of the non-Congress and non-BJP Chief Ministers is aimed at keeping the UPA under check and prevent it from usurping state powers on law and order and finance. Since the survival of the UPA-II depends on allies like the TMC. The chief Ministers are likely demand massive financial concessions from the centre. All of them have demanded special financial packages from the centre but have got nothing so far. On the other hand, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has been able to find enough money for funding very expensive social sector schemes which the Congress party can show case during the elections. According to sources close to these Chief Ministers, the UPA is likely to face rough weather during the Budget session of the parliament. All of them are likely to coordinate with each other including with the TDP to press for more powers to the states.