New Delhi: Government on Monday heaved a sigh of relief as amendments moved by opposition to the President's Address on NCTC were defeated in the Rajya Sabha, where UPA is in minority, with the help of SP and BSP while ally Trinamool Congress absented.

The government, which has 97 members in the 245-member House, had a smooth sail in the voting on the NCTC after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said nothing would be done to infringe upon the federal structure and next step would be taken only after full consultations with states.

Four amendments moved by CPI-M and BJP were put to vote at the insistence of Opposition members, who were seeking an assurance that the government will not move forward on the NCTC unless there is an "agreement" with the Chief Ministers.

The amendments were defeated by 105 to 82 votes.

SP with four members and BSP with 17 voted with the government. TMC with six members left the House before the voting.

Four more amendments on the issue of Sri Lankan Tamils were also put to vote on the insistence of CPI and AIADMK in which the Government won securing 84 votes of the total 94 present as members from Left and NDA had already walked out.

Subsequently the Motion of Thanks was adopted by voice vote.

Replying to the debate on the Thanks Motion, Singh earlier said the next step on operationalising the NCTC would be taken after full consultations and noted that a meeting of Chief Ministers has been convened in this regard on April 16.

Making a strong pitch for the NCTC (National Counter Terrorism Centre), he said it was an important step in fighting terrorism and left-wing extremism and cited the abduction of two Italians in Odisha as a "grim reminder" of the danger posed by these to national security.

The Prime Minister said, "Earlier this week, two Italians were abducted by left wing extremists (in Odisha). It is a grim reminder to all of us 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 that the idea of NCTC and the manner in which it will function are 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 down and a broad based consensus arrived."

He also assured the House "nothing will be done which in any manner, which infringes on the federal structure of the Constitution".

Noting that a meeting of Chief Ministers has been convened on April 16, Singh said, "adequate and full consultations will take place before the next step is taken for setting up of NCTC."

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."

The Opposition members were, however, not satisfied with the wording of the PM's assurance and wanted Singh to categorically state that Centre will not take any forward step on NCTC unless there is agreement of the Chief Ministers and the states are taken on board.

Maintaining that law and order is a state subject, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said powers to arrest being vested in the NCTC was a "transgression" on the rights of states.

(Agencies)