Even before Parliament takes up the Indo-US civil nuclear issue on September 10-11, the debate has begun outside it, with the Congress planning to hard sell it as a bijli-pani issue among the people while trying to take the nationalistic plank by bracketing the Left with Pakistan, China and the BJP for opposing the deal.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the campaign, by asserting that India cannot afford to miss the nuclear “bus” as it needs energy. Congress president Sonia Gandhi indicated that the deal would be flagged among the government's key achievements along with the RTI and the national rural employment guarantee act. If and when elections take place, the effort to take the complicated issue to the masses has begun with the Congress and its allies couching it in people-friendly terms.
“The deal is necessary for the aam aadmi. It will bring electricity to the rural household. Unless you provide infrastructural facilities to the people, how can there be development?” said RJD’s Lalu Yadav. NCP's Sharad Pawar has also said that his party will present the deal as important for a power-starved nation. “It will bring electricity to the people,” said Digvijay Singh, AICC leader.
A UP MLA said that he has already begun to package the deal as a bijli pani issue with his voters.