New Delhi: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata banerjee on Wednesday took the battle for federalism into Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's residence amidst the brewing Centre versus states clash over the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre or the NCTC.
The brief meeting with the Prime Minister obviously did not cool the firebrand leader.
Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee's list of complaints was long.
"I received a letter from the Prime Minister where it was told that in 2001, a GoM recommended the formation of NCTC. I said what was the need of this after 11 years," said Banerjee after the meeting.
The West Bengal Chief Minister further told the Prime Minister not to implement NCTC unless the state governments were consulted over the issue.
"We are not against fighting terrorism, but state governments should be consulted," she said.
The meeting came just a day after the Prime Minister wrote to the CMs promising that Home Minister P Chidambaram would address their concerns. But with voices against the counter terror policy growing, its clear that like FDI in retail, this too may have to be put on hold.
Not just the Trinamool Congress chief, another ally National Conference also attacked the Government.
"The Centre made a mistake by not consulting the states," said National Conference President Farooq Abdullah.
On Wednesday, Mayawati too joined in and Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi fuelled the federal debate complaining to the Prime Minister that the proposed Railway Protection Force Amendment Act too infringed upon the rights of the states.
A cornered Government is finding it hard to defend itself.
"As far as the Railways Protection Force Act is concerned, it is a Central Act and this Act was in force even when the NDA Government was ruling the country. At that time Narendra Modi was also Chief Minister, (but) he was keeping quiet," said V Narayanasamy, Minister of State, PMO.
More than the Opposition, it's the opposition within - coming from allies Trinamool and National Conference - which has rattled the Government. Facing a tough Budget Session in March, the UPA could do with all the support.
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