BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, L.K. Advani, backtracked after initially having agreed to support the government on the India-U.S. nuclear deal, Congress leader and Union Minister Kapil Sibal said on Sunday.
Sibal said the BJP leader had given his consent after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had explained the details of the deal in a meeting, attended by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former National Security Adviser Brajesh Misra and Advani himself, in December last year.
“At the end of the meeting, Advani said I am satisfied — we are now in a position to support the 123 Agreement. But could you, Mr PM, send us a letter. At which point in time the PM went back, sent a letter stating that the conversation had taken place”, Sibal told Karan Thapar in his programme, ‘Devil’s Advocate’, telecast on the CNN-IBN on Sunday night.
The Science and Technology Minister said Advani later went back on his promise. “But thereafter unfortunately, Mr Advani informed the PM, that he was not able to deliver his promise, and that the senior leadership of the party was against the deal, and so he can’t deliver”, Sibal said. Asked whether Advani or Brajesh Misra would confirm his version, Sibal replied: “If you don’t believe me, you ask Brajesh Misra, he was there, let’s not get politicians involved in this, ask him”.
Advani, however, has dismissed Sibal’s claim, calling it “baseless” and “aimed at spreading disinformation and confusion”. He admitted having met the PM in December last year, but said he had conveyed the party’s opposition to accept the deal in its present form.