NCTC not to trample rights of states: Cong

New Delhi: Downplaying the controversy surrounding Mamata Banerjee`s opposition to the setting up of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Congress today said the agency was not constituted to trample on states` rights and assured that concerns, if any, would be addressed.

Party spokesperson Manish Tewari also emphasised the need to "transcend the forms and look at the substance", noting that terror is a real threat and that there is a need to "bring together all elements of national power in the real time in order to surmount a formidable challenge to it".

He also found nothing wrong in Banerjee writing to the Prime Minister on Thursday to "review and withdraw" the order on organisation, function, power and duties of the newly constituted NCTC. "We do not live in a monolithic political structure. We live in a multi-polar political structure. In that kind of arrangement all chief ministers should have the right and flexibility of articulating their opinion on any administrative and political measure," Tewari said.

Cautioning against "tilting at the windmills", he said the issue should not be blown up in "some sort of crisis, where there is none". Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik had also written to the Prime Minister against the NCTC earlier.

Tewari, however, said, "I do not think the intent is to create an agency, which will trample on the right of the state. The intent of the government is that let us have a proactive agency through which we can proactively tackle terrorism".

Tewari at the same time said there is no question about divergence of opinion as in a federal polity people are entitled their points of view on a particular matter. He also chose to remind that the genesis of the NCTC lies in multi- agency centre mooted during the NDA regime.

In her letter to the Prime Minister that was issued by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik`s office in Bhubaneshwar, Banerjee has expressed concern over the alleged infringement of federal rights of states stating noting that extensive powers have been given to the NCTC located in the Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Earlier, on February 13, Patnaik had written to the Prime Minister opposing the powers to the newly constituted NCTC and termed as "draconian" the order giving extensive powers to the NCTC.

Tewari, however, said "with all due regard to federal sentiments across the country, the fact is that terror is a real threat…at this point of time if you really want to surmount a plausible or formidable challenge to terrorism, you have to bring all elements of national power together in real time so that you can proactively prevent terrorist incidents from taking place."

The Congress spokesperson said that NCTC is really an improvement of the multi-agency centre that had come as a result of the recommendation made by the GoM set up during the NDA government.

"All those who are crying hoarse or shedding crocodile tears on terrorism needs to look at the genesis of how the multi agency Centre came into existence and how it has evolved into NCTC," he added.