Chidambaram vists Bangalore but no meeting with chief minister


Bangalore : Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram was in Bangalore for around three hours Friday to review the security situation in the state ahead of Lok Sabha polls but did not meet Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa, with whom he is reportedly miffed for cancelling earlier meetings.

Support TwoCircles

Chidambaram and Yeddyurappa have been involved in a war of words over the cancellation of meetings.

While Chidambaram has charged the Bharatiya Janata Party government with the lax attitude towards security, Yeddyurappa has countered alleging that the union minister was politicising the issue.

Chidambaram flew in here from Orissa to visit the Special Forces Unit, an anti-terrorist force, set up in Bangalore following the Mumbai terror attacks.

The SFU comprises officers and men of the army and has been set up in Bangalore in lieu of the National Security Guards whose deployment the state government has been demanding.

The central government decided to set up four hubs of the NSG in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks and provide army cover to other important cities.

“At present, the SFU has 100 men of all ranks and by the end of this month, we will have approximately 600 people (in the unit),” Chidambaram said in a statement to the media.

He declined to take questions from the media which had been waiting for him for over an hour at an army office in the heart of Bangalore.

“I wish to assure the people of Karnataka, especially the people of Bengaluru, that the government of India has fulfilled its promises to locate a specialised, well trained and well equipped counter-terrorist force to meet any terrorist threat,” Chidambaram said reading out from the statement.

He said the SFU men “are fully equipped and well trained. They are available for deployment at short notice”.

While there was no meeting with the chief minister, state Home Minister V.S. Acharya and senior police officials received Chidambaram at the airport.

“The home minister presented a bouquet to welcome Chidambaram at the airport and exchanged pleasantries with him. There was no other meeting,” Acharya’s spokesperson told IANS.

Chidambaram spent over an hour at the army office meeting senior officers. After reading out the statement to the media he left for airport on way to Chennai.

At a separate press meet Congress general secretary Jayanthi Natarajan said cancellation of meetings with the union home minister showed “lack of concern of the chief minister and the government on security of Karnataka.”

She said the state government turned the issue (of meeting with chidambaram) into a conflict situation with the central government.

According to Chidambaram he had suggested a meeting with the chief minister early this month to review the security situation in the state. Twice the meetings were cancelled, the second one at the last minute, according to the home ministry statement on March 6.