Mamata, Nitish join Naveen on NCTC

Bhubaneswar: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, Gujrat chief minister Narendra Modi and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu have vociferously supported Naveen Patnaik on his stand against the formation of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) which they said was an impediment and attack on the federal structure of the country.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalitha had earlier opposed the NCTC and said that it was vested with such powers which would infringe law and order which was a state subject.    

The coming together of the chief ministers and leaders of regional parties has rekindled the formation of a third political front at the central level minus the UPA and the NDA.

The bone of contention between the Centre and the leaders was regarding the powers vested with the officers of the proposed NCTC. Under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act-1967 any officer of the operation division of the NCTC has been vested with the power to arrest anyone from anywhere within the country without prior information or notice to the state. The NCTC officials can make the arrest without the assistance of the local police.

The opposition to the NCTC by Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, a coalition partner at the Centre, has created further embarrassment for the UPA government. The Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari today trying to assuage the feelings of Mamata Banerjee clarified that the NCTC did not intend to infringe on the powers and rights of the states. The West Bengal chief secretary too reportedly discussed the issue with the Union home secretary R K Singh.

The coming together of the chieftains of the regional parties has once again revived the talks on the formation of a third political front without the UPA and the NDA at the Centre. Naveen had recently floated the idea of the third front comprising of secular and corruption free political parties. Only time can tell whether that idea takes political shape.