The issue of federalism generated a lot of heat in the Lok Sabha today with friends and foes of Congress making common cause to target the Centre over the NCTC and key UPA ally Trinamool Congress raising the pitch for its immediate withdrawal.
The marathon discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President for her Address saw main Opposition BJP as also SP,which is extending support to UPA from outside,attacking the government on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) issue.
Kalyan Banerjee (Trinamool Congress),whose party is at loggerheads with the government on several issues,utilised the occasion to demand a substantial financial package for debt-ridden West Bengal,an issue which has remained a sore thumb with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The NCTC grumble came in spite of Home Minister P Chidambaram asserting that the move was an “absolute necessity” and not an attack on the federal structure.
The Congress,on the other hand,attacked the BJP for its “double talk” and said its “true colours” has been exposed in the states it has been ruling.
Rajnath Singh,who opened the innings on behalf of the BJP,said instead of developing a consensus,the UPA government at the Centre was adopting an attitude of “confrontation” with the states.
“The mentality of the government is such that it is not even ready to accept the constructive support of opposition parties,” Singh said. Shailendra Kumar (SP) said his party was opposed to NCTC.
Anant Geete (Shiv Sena) wondered as to why terrorists like Afzal Guru and Ajmal Kasab have not been punished by the UPA government.
Kalyan Banerjee,whose party is the second largest ally of the Congress in the UPA,even gave an amendment to the President’s address on the NCTC issue.
The Centre,he said,is trying to encroach upon rights of states and this had been seen in the case of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill too.
“NCTC would jeopardise the sanctity of the federal structure…This type of scheme (NCTC) should not be brought. This scheme should be withdrawn immediately,” he said.
He also urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to look into the demand of West Bengal for more funds saying the state had a debt of Rs 2.3 lakh crore and could not generate its own resources.
Senior Congress leader Girija Vyas,on the other hand,said the BJP’s “double talk” and its “true colours” have been exposed in the states it has been ruling.
She said the Congress-led UPA government was determined to table the Lokpal Bill and other related legislations to fight corruption but blamed the opposition for not supporting the government’s initiatives.
Vyas said the government was concerned over rising prices and had taken several measures to contain them. As a result,inflation had come down,she added.