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Govt justifies PM receiving Bush
March 02, 2006 02:45 IST
In the midst of stray voices of opposition, Government and Congress justified Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to receive US President George Bush on his arrival here tonight on a state visit.
"There is nothing wrong in the Prime Minister receiving the US President," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters recalling that Singh had also done likewise when the Saudi King, who is the "actual head" of government and the state, had arrived in New Delhi recently on an official visit.
Earlier in on Wednesday, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi had criticised prime minister's decision saying "extraordinary courtesy" being extended to Bush "compromised" the nation's self respect.
Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natrajan, talking separately at the All India Congress Committee briefing, spoke in a similar vein. "Presidents have gone to airport to receive guests", she said brushing aside questions that the Prime Minister would be breaching protocol if he received the US President.
Asserting that the party stands totally with the government on the issue of Bush's visit, Natarajan said the Left and others have every democratic right to protest, it should also be ensured that "traditional Indian hospitality is not marred."
On the Left's moves to demand suspension of question hour in both Houses of Parliament on Thursday to protest the visit of the US President, Dasmunsi said that it was for the presiding officers to decide on such issues as government never agrees to such suspensions.He said the prime minister's reply to the discussion on the Iran issue in Parliament could take place on the evening of March 3. The Left parties have demanded that the government should make its position clear on the issue ahead of the International Atomic Energy Association board meeting on March 6.