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Lalu bats for N-deal, says won't become US slaves
June 19, 2008 14:27 IST
Last Updated: June 19, 2008 15:51 IST
Pitching for the Indo-US nuclear deal, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday said it is necessary for the country's development and it would be "unfortunate" if the agreement falls through.
As senior Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Sitaram Yechury met Prasad, the railway minister said the government needed to take the allies along as "we need both (the deal and the Left)".
"Governments come and go. Nuclear power is a requirement and assets must be created for our next generation," he told reporters in New Delhi.
Seeking to allay apprehensions of the Left allies, Prasad said by signing the deal with the US, "We are not becoming a slave of America."
Contending that the Left has the right to express its views, he said, "I am hopeful the deal will come through and if not, it will be unfortunate for the country."
To a question, he said, "Anyway, we all are preparing for elections."
When asked whether the deal will be an election issue, he said, "The controversy has been raised unnecessarily."
Prasad's comments came as Yechury met him to discuss the nuclear deal issue, which has snowballed into a major bone of contention between the UPA and Left parties, which are providing crucial outside support to the government.
About the possible date of elections, the RJD chief said, "It will not be in the rainy season... The government is not going to fall."
Prasad, who is a member of the UPA-Left Committee on nuclear deal, said, "Nuclear power is a requirement and assets must be created for our next generation."
"We want power and food will come from infrastructure, rail, airport and highways. There is a major electricity crisis in the country. Many villages are left out of power. So we need the deal to come through," Prasad said.
The railway minister emphasised that the deal is in the interest of the country. "It is a must," he said, adding that the government would need to take along all the allies on the issue.
Ridiculing Left slogan Inquilab Zindabad, he said, "Food will not come from these slogans. It will come from infrastructure only."
"China and Russia [Images] have also done the nuclear deal. So what is the harm in the deal?" he added.