A day after the BJP gave the green signal to the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill — thus virtually ensuring its passage despite Left objections — the Prime Minister made a gesture towards the Opposition by attending an iftaar party thrown by BJP MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain in New Delhi.
This led to speculations that the Prime Minister's gesture of attending a BJP MP's invite was connected with the party's support for a legislation dear to him that could not be carried to its conclusion easily without the principal opposition party's support.
Hussain's iftaar party, in fact, stole the march of another one thrown by Sultan Ahmed of the Trinamool Congress, in which there were no high-profile guests, including Mamata Banerjee.
The Civil Nuclear Liability Bill has been important on the agenda of the government, as it is necessary to lay down a liability framework in case there is an accident after India operates nuclear reactors for generating power in the wake of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Up to days back, the BJP seemed to be with the Left in opposing the Bill.
In fact, a senior BJP leader had even said that the party would accept no cap on the no-fault liability. However, it did budge a bit, also forcing the government to accept some of its objections, and finally settled for a Rs 1,500-crore cap, which can even be raised later through a notification.
Among other prominent guests at the party were Speaker Meira Kumar, L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj, MoS Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan, Sharad Pawar's daughter Supriya Sule, Congress MP Sanjay Nirupam, and others. BJP national president Nitin Gadkari could not attend the party.