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'Kennedy not unsung hero of nuke deal'

Last updated on: September 01, 2009 13:54 IST

An Indian-American Republican leader has questioned the characterisation of Senator Edward Kennedy, who died last week, as an "unsung hero" of the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal.

"Senator Kennedy was instrumental to get more than 300 bills to be enacted into law. We wish US-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation Act was one of them," Dallas-based Ashok Mago, chairman of US-India Forum, said in a statement.

Mago was one of the key Indian American leaders to have played a significant role in mobilising the support for the Indo-US civilian nuclear bill at the Capitol Hill.

Last week, Ramesh V Kapur, an Indian American Democratic leader-based in Boston, had said that Kennedy was the "unsung hero" of the nuclear deal, because he did not come out in open did not lobby against it.

Given the widespread support Kennedy enjoyed in the Senate, it would have been difficult to get the bill passed, had Kennedy opposed it as was done by Ed Markey in the House of Representative.

"It is amazing for someone to characterise Senator Kennedy as an individual who did things half heartedly," Mago said, adding that Kennedy was one among the 11 Senators who voted against the nuclear bill during the Lame Duck Session of the Congress on November 16, 2006.

"One may and may not agree with senator Kennedy's beliefs let us remember him as who he was, a great legislator and a compassionate human being who did great things for many. He would not want to be remembered for something he did not do. He will be missed in the US senate," Mago said.

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