In a veiled but strong rebuttal to those opposing the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC),Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today informed West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that a group of ministers in 2001 (under the NDA) and a high-power task force had recommended the bodys formation.
But Banerjee,who called on the PM with 35 yellow roses,was unrelenting. I told the prime minister that if something was recommended 11 years ago,what was the need to implement it now? Why have the states not been consulted? she told reporters after her 15-minute meeting with Singh.
Banerjee also demanded that as long as the consultation process was on,the executive order on the NCTC should not be implemented. The PM said that he will see.
Equating the centre to a father and states to children,she said she did not intend to protect terrorists,but states should be taken on board.
The NCTC gives the centre the power to arrest,interrogate and requisition police personnel. These three are violative of the federal structure, she said.
Later in the day,a statement from the Prime Ministers Office said the PM has requested the home minister to find ways to take the concerns of the state governments on board.
On Banerjees complaints about the delay in the formation of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration,the PM told her that the concerned file would be sent to the President within two days. Singh also promised a high-power committee over Banerjees other concern: leakage in the Farakka barrage causing most of the water to flow into Bangladesh.
Banerjee clarified that there was no discussion on any Bengal package. We never asked for any package. We never begged from anyone, she said.
Later in the evening,she paid Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee a courtesy call.