Reshuffle WikiLeak puts govt under fire
The publication of WikiLeaks reports suggesting that a "US tilt" was visible in the UPA government's cabinet reshuffle of 2006, was raised in Parliament on Tuesday.delhi Updated: Mar 16, 2011 01:24 IST
The publication of WikiLeaks reports suggesting that a "US tilt" was visible in the UPA government's cabinet reshuffle of 2006, was raised in Parliament on Tuesday.
While CPM demanded a statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, BJP leader Jaswant Singh suggested the UPA government's foreign policy was being framed in Washington.
CPM members raised the issue during Zero Hour and said the WikiLeaks cable quoted US ambassador in India David C Mulford as saying there was an "undeniable pro-American tilt" in the then cabinet reshuffle.
Led by Brinda Karat and P Rajeeve, CPM MPs said Mulford had described the change in the petroleum portfolio as a "determination to ensure US-India relations continue to move ahead rapidly".
Rajeeve said Mani Shankar Aiyar, seen by the US as a "contentious and outspoken Iran pipeline advocate was replaced by pro-US Murli Deora".
The CPM member, supported by his party colleagues and BJP and Shiv Sena, said there was also a reference in the cables to the inclusion of Saifuddin Soz, Anand Sharma, Ashwani Kumar and Kapil Sibal all "with strong pro-US credentials".
Aiyar said he was not surprised when he was relieved "at the first opportunity" of the "temporary charge".
"I was told explicitly that it was a temporary charge. I thought I will be there (petroleum ministry) for a week or two. It turned out to be 20 months. So it is not surprising that at the first opportunity when the reshuffle took place I was relieved of my temporary charge," the Congress leader said when asked about the cables.
Opposition MPs, however, demanded a response from the government, but deputy chairman K Rahman Khan denied it.
The Congress dubbed the cables as "senseless". "If national political parties or the whole country was to go into reacting to these sensational titbits from elements like WikiLeaks weekly, this country's democracy, its spirit, its stability would be diminished," Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said.