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PM not Advani changed stand on N-deal: BJP

July 15, 2008 20:39 IST

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Reacting to an allegation that Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani supported the Indo-US nuclear deal but his party forced him to change his stand, the BJP on Tuesday said it was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] who had changed his position often over the years.

"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has changed his stand. He criticised the National Democratic Alliance government in 1998 in Parliament -- when he was leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha -- for Pokharan II," senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office had earlier claimed at a news conference that Advani was in favour of the nuclear deal, but could not convince his party to support it.

The PM had held a meeting with BJP leaders in December 2007 to discuss the deal. The meeting was attended by BJP veterans A B Vajpayee, Advani and former national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, among others.

"The PM actually wrote a letter to Vajpayeeji after that meeting, in which he said that what we did at that time (Pokharan II) was right," Naidu said.

Naidu gave other instances when Dr Singh had changed his stand. "He had said in an interview to a newspaper that if the Left parties were against the deal, so be it. Later he said in a conclave organised by another newspaper that this (UPA) was not a one-issue government. One issue is not the end of life," Naidu quoted the PM as saying.

Naidu maintained that the BJP had a uniform stand on the nuclear deal. "We are all for strategic ties with the US. But we are opposed to the nuclear deal in its present form," he said.

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