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Anti-NCTC chief ministers meet separately

Delhi,Politics, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) The chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Odisha met on the sidelines of the chief ministers meet on internal security Monday, leading to speculation that they were firming up opposition to the central government's policies, particularly the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC).


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, head of the Biju Janata Dal, met at the Tamil Nadu Bhavan late Monday afternoon after the meeting was over.


While Jayalalithaa and Modi did not speak to the media about the meeting, Patnaik termed it a "courtesy call".


"We have old family ties, madam is a friend of my father," Patnaik told reporters about the meeting.


Patnaik was the first to reach Tamil Nadu Bhavan, and was joined by Modi later.


Modi had attended Jayalalithaa's swearing in as chief minister in Chennai last year.


Chief ministers of non-Congress states raised the issue of the central government's encroachment on the federal structure, especially the NCTC, a proposed anti-terror intelligence hub, and giving police powers to the paramilitary forces.


Jayalalithaa in her address at the meeting had slammed New Delhi for "reducing states to municipalities".


"The leverage and operational magnitude of the states is sought to be kept under control by tightening finances... The constant attempts to reduce states to the level of glorified municipal corporations heavily dependent on the Centre for funds is a travesty of the federal nature of our existence," she said.


Modi also blamed UPA's "unilateralism" for distrust of states.


"Whether it is the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Railway Protection Force or the Border Security Force, the centre's unilateral activity is creating an atmosphere of distrust between the centre and the state... I urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bridge the gap," Modi told reporters on the sidelines of the meet.


Patnaik wanted the central government to immediately address the concerns around formation of NCTC.


The prime minister has convened a separate meeting with chief ministers on May 5 to discuss the NCTC.


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