PM to make N-statement in House | delhi | Hindustan Times
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PM to make N-statement in House

The Govt plans to set the monsoon session of Parliament rolling by making a suo motu statement on Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, reports Saroj Nagi.

delhi Updated: Aug 08, 2007 02:42 IST
Saroj Nagi

Virtually isolated on the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement, the government plans to set the monsoon session of Parliament rolling by making a suo motu statement on the issue in both Houses of Parliament early next week. The statement, meant to allay the apprehensions of detractors, is likely to be made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in keeping with his assurance that he will report back to Parliament on the issue.

The statement will be made either on Monday or Tuesday but a debate on the issue will be taken up only in the third week of August — midway through what is billed as a tumultuous month-long session from August 10 to September 14 that will also see a special function to mark 60 years of Independence on August 15 and the Japanese Prime Minister’s address to MPs on August 22.

In making a suo motu statement, the Centre hopes to take the sting out of the stringent opposition to the deal by the Left, the BJP-NDA and the Third Front, which have accused the UPA of compromising India’s sovereignty and foreign policy options. The Congress leaders will talk to the Left allies. As spokesman Abhishek Singhvi claimed, India’s interests have been protected and the moratorium on testing has not been converted into a legal commitment.

The Left, with its virulently anti-US stance, has been using the issue to reaffirm its separate identity, the BJP to show the fissures in the UPA and the Third Front to strike a chord with other non-UPA parties. To the Congress’s discomfiture the Left has raised the same demands the BJP has: a constitutional amendment to provide for ratification of international pacts. The BJP has also called for a debate followed by a vote and the vetting of the deal by a joint parliamentary panel.

Singhvi had dismissed the BJP’s demand earlier saying that the constitution gives the executive the right to sign an agreement. Other UPA leaders said that foreign policy issues are never discussed under a substantive motion, vetted by the JPC or ratified by the House.

Besides the nuclear deal, the other issues likely to come up in the two Houses are: corruption, including the Ashok Malhotra affair, price rise, flood situation, the Sohrabuddin case, the non-implementation of the Srikrishna report on the Mumbai riots and the Khammam and Nandigram and Singur violence.

There are 25 bills listed for the short session. But the Congress and the Left have yet to resolve their differences on crucial ones, including on pension reforms. The Broadcasting bill is also unlikely to come up in this session, with Dasmunsi yet to complete his consultations with stakeholders. But the Social Security bill for Unorganised Labour bill would be introduced.