Mausam badal raha hai. Sameekaran badal rahe hain” (The weather is changing. The equations are changing”). This was what Bharatiya Janata Party leader S S Ahluwalia had to say on the defeat of the amendments moved by the opposition parties to the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address on the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) in the Rajya Sabha.
The government, which is in a minority (with 96 members) in the 245-member House, was bailed out today by the Samajwadi Party (4 MPs) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (17 MPs), while ally Trinamool Congress (TMC) absented. The TMC had earlier threatened to vote against the NCTC provision. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his reply (after which the motion was put to vote), said the next step on operationalising the NCTC would be taken after full consultations, and noted a meeting of chief ministers had been convened on April 16.
Making a strong pitch for the NCTC, he said: “Earlier this week, two Italians were abducted by left wing extremists (in Orissa). It is a grim reminder that our nation’s security could be in danger if we are not careful and alert in tackling the problem of terrorism and left wing extremism.”
While noting the idea of NCTC and the manner in which it will function were two separate things, the prime minister said, “There may be differences of opinion on the manner in which NCTC will function, but through discussion and dialogue, these differences can be narrowed and a broad based consensus arrived...Nothing will be done, which in any manner, infringes on the federal structure of the Constitution.”
Referring to allegations by states that the Centre was trying to “destabilise the federal structure”, the prime minister said, “Nothing can be farther from truth. Our government is committed to uphold the Constitution in letter and spirit.”