Home Minister chooses his words carefully to reiterate his stand on the NCTC, at the same time appeases Banerjee by lauding state's progress
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister and the most volatile ally of the Congress, on Saturday skipped the NSG hub inauguration function attended by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Kolkata, reemphasising her protest against the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre. Her name was initially included in the inauguration brochure and was subsequently deleted.
Trinamool Congress leader and minister of state for shipping Mukul Roy attended the function. Chidambaram chose his words carefully to drive home his stand on the Centre's role and responsibility in ensuring security in the country. He, however, did not directly mention NCTC or the ongoing controversy.
"Internal security is a complex subject shared by the Centre and the states. Policing is a state subject. But Article 365 of the Constitution says that the Centre is obliged to secure every part of the country from external aggression and maintain internal security," Chidambaram said, adding that the fathers of the Constitution were very wise.
Making a point that the Centre did not discriminate between states on the basis of political parties that ruled governments there, Chidambaram said the Centre worked with the previous government in West Bengal and "we are happy to work with the new government."
Reaching out to Banerjee, he said the situation in Junglemahal, created by the Maoists, has been substantially controlled by the new government and the overall situation of the state has considerably improved.
The arguments over NCTC exploded as a full blown controversy on Friday when chief ministers Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Prem Kumar Dhumal of Himachal Pradesh joined the protest led by Banerjee, Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and Jayalalitha of Tamil Nadu.