New Delhi: The UPA government once again appears bending on its knees in front of its major ally Trinamool Congress over setting up of an anti-terror body-National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) - amid strident protest from the non-Congress Chief Ministers.

Soon after TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to the Prime Minister demanding exclusive debate on the setting up of the NCTC during the annual meeting of Chief Ministers on April 16, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday welcomed the proposal and indicated that the annual meet may be extended to discuss the crucial issue.

“I welcome the extensive debate over setting up NCTC. I am hopeful that the crucial issue will be discussed under the canons of the Constitution so that fruitful results could be found out,” said the Home Minister.

When asked whether there was a possibility of extending the day-long meeting to two days, Chidambaram said, “The annual meet is based on affairs of internal security. It was earlier stipulated on February 15 but due to the assembly elections and Budget session it was postponed to April 16. It can be conditionally extended if the Prime Minister or the Chief Ministers are available for the day.”

Responding to the question over Mamata’s demand to focus the discussion solely on NCTC issue during the meet, Chidambaram said, "I think it is important that all issues of the agenda are discussed. How we will accommodate the request of the Chief Ministers to devote a considerable amount of time to discuss the NCTC is a matter that will be resolved in the next couple of days."

Reigniting the issue, Mamata Banerjee on Saturday said that she has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding exclusive discussion on the NCTC during the annual meet of the Chief Ministers.