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N-deal an agreement between 2 individuals: Advani

July 21, 2008 13:09 IST
Last Updated: July 21, 2008 14:02 IST

Holding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] directly responsible for the present political crisis, Leader of Opposition L K Advani on Monday said that the Indo-US nuclear deal had become an agreement between two individuals, making India 'subservient' and a 'junior partner'.

I acted only in national interest, says Dr Singh

"UPA is like a patient in the ICU room. The first question everyone asks is whether he is going to survive or not," Advani said in a scathing attack on the prime minister and the ruling United Progressive Alliance coalition.

Coverage: An Alliance in Crisis

Speaking on the confidence motion moved by the prime minister, the BJP leader accused the prime minister of having opposed the 1998 Pokhran II tests, triggering an immediate rebuttal by Dr Singh who said he had only spoken about sanctions and whether the country was prepared for it.

Advani referred to 'sharp exchanges' during that period in Rajya Sabha between Dr Singh and late BJP leader K R Malkani, but the prime minister retorted saying let any objective person read the proceedings and draw his own conclusions.

The true costs of the nuclear deal

The BJP leader said the present situation was entirely brought about by Dr Singh and not precipitated by opposition National Democratic Alliance or even Left parties.

He said people would decide in the next elections 'even if the government survives on Tuesday.

The only important number is 5

Advani said Dr Singh had sparked the political impasse with his interview to a Kolkata newspaper where he had said that if the Left parties want to withdraw support, 'so be it'.

"If the government was so serious about the (nuclear) deal, why is it not mentioned in the Common Minimum Programme or even the Congress manifesto? It is a kind of an agreement between two individuals and one happens to be the prime minister," the BJP leader said.

Is the nuclear deal about big business?

Attacking the government for speaking in 'different voices', Advani said External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had assured the Left parties that India would approach the International Atomic Energy Agency for the safeguards agreement only after getting the approval of Parliament.

But the prime minister had chosen to give a different line and suddenly the draft agreement was sent to the nuclear watchdog, he said.

The draft text was described as 'privileged' and 'classified' but it was circulated to IAEA members first.

A sad saga of the PM's betrayals

"I have never seen a government paralysed for so long" with nothing else but the deal, Advani said.

He said BJP was not against forging close relations with the US but was against India being party to a deal which was 'unequal'.

"If people vote NDA back to power, we will renegotiate the deal to make it equal and ensure that there are no constraints on our strategic autonomy," the BJP leader said.

'The MIM has been given Rs 5,000 crore'

"I don't agree with the Left. We differ very widely on various issues. But if the government is destablised after four years and two months and faces the likelihood of being voted out then this situation has been brought about not by the opposition NDA or even the Leftists," Advani said.

"This has been invited by the government itself, and Mr prime minister, I am sorry to say, by you personally," he said, adding that even Left parties "wanted to prolong it".

From jail to bailing out Dr Singh!

"Please don't blame anyone else. It is your government and in a way you, personally, and even the Congress president without whom you would not take a single step is to be blamed. The opposition has played no role in this," Advani said, claiming that his party would strive to 'defeat the government on the floor of the House'.

He drew a distinction between defeating the government and destablising it by saying "it is not in our nature to destabilise governments. You may do it with Chandrashekhar's government or those of H D Deve Gowda or I K Gujral.

"Even the Vajpayee government was destabilised with the help of a member, who was made the chief minister of a state," Advani said, apparently referring to the vote by Giridhar Gamang in during the 1999 trust vote.

Maintaining that he had seen several 'short-lived' and 'unstable' governments in the past, the Opposition leader said "I have never seen a government so paralysed" that it pays no heed to the people's problems."

Advani said the focus of the debate on the motion should be 'why did it become necessary'.

As far back as in August last year, he said the government had made up its mind to go ahead with the deal as per an interview given by the prime minister to a daily then.

"This state of affairs continued with the government being paralysed and nothing else excepting the deal being talked of. The common man's problems were ignored," he said.

Observing that he was 'not happy' with the nuclear deal as it makes India 'a junior partner', the BJP veteran said 'we do not support a uni-polar world. We favour a multi-polar world in which India will be a principle pole. But this deal makes India permanently a non-nuclear weapon state."

To create a broad consensus on the nuclear issue, Advani said the government should have formed a Joint Parliamentary Committee but regretted that instead the UPA government went on forming UPA-Left committee.

"We have been saying that UPA government, without 60-61 MPs of Left parties, will be reduced to minority and a minority government has no right to move on international agreements (nuclear deal)," he said.

He also charged the government for deceiving the general public saying that with this deal the people would get power.

"If at all this deal goes through, when we will get power and at what price and how much," Advani asked, pointing out that today, nuclear power contributed only three per cent of total electricity generation and even after the deal it would increase to just six per cent.

But the deal was not the only issue, said Advani, claiming that the government had 'completely failed' on all fronts like providing electricity to all, roads, water, agriculture and irrigation, as promised in the Common Minimum Programme.

"Do not try to cover up your failures on all these fronts by the nuclear deal," he said.

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