Cong turns tables on NCTC naysayers

Anti-terror body: Blame game on among different parties

As fresh crisis stared at the UPA government after seven chief ministers, including its ally and TMC head Mamata Banerjee, came out against the formation of the National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Congress tried to play down the issue asserting that fighting terrorism is a collective responsibility.

“It is time for us to think conscientiously and work collectively. We are looking at national terror. I do not think we can make any compromise,” said Congress spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary.

Asked about the concern shown by the chief ministers that creation of the ambitious NCTC infringes on the rights of state, Chowdhary said: “The government is open minded for talks on any issue.”

Chowdhary, however, sought to turn the tables on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who described the notification issued by the Union Home Ministry as “draconian”.
“If we recall and rewind, there were several partners in the NDA government when draconian laws were passed. A lot of these people were associated when these draconian laws were framed,” she said.

Asked if she was pointing at Banerjee as well, who was a minister in the BJP–led NDA government, Chowdhary cautiously said: “I have said in the context of Naveen Patnaik’s remarks.”

Sidestepped

She also sidestepped questions on whether Banerjee’s move was being seen as an unfriendly act or whether she was the conscience keeper of the UPA or has already become a part of the Opposition.

“We always see her as an ally... We have no quarrel with her. We understand and appreciate her compulsions in the state government,” said Chowdhary.

Asked whether the Congress sees Banerjee moving towards some other political alignments, including the Third Front, in the wake of the fact that her letter was sent from the Odisha chief minister’s office, she said “it is part of the democratic process if one chief minister talks to some other counterpart to form a pressure group.”

In reply to another question on whether the Congress party’s hands are tied due to coalition compulsions, Chowdhary said “being a major partner, we will talk with tolerance. It is our responsibility to convince our allies.”

Attack on Mamata

However, another senior Congress leader attacked Banerjee on the issue.
  “I know she (Mamata Banejree) is doing all this because of her local political compulsions in West Bengal.

  “Wasn’t the chief minister a part of the NDA, when it brought draconian POTA law,” the leader said, who wished not to identified.

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