Declaring its opposition to the just concluded Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, the BJP has sent a notice to Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee seeking a vote in the House on the issue when Parliament’s monsoon session begins on August 10.
<b1>The move came after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Jaswant Singh, Yashwant Sinha and other BJP leaders came to the conclusion that the deal would restrict India’s nuclear testing programme. The BJP has already demanded setting up of a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to examine the draft agreement, and asked the government to suspend all further action on the deal till the JPC submits its report, which secures the approval of Parliament.
BJP’s deputy leader VK Malhotra said on Sunday that “We have made the request to the Speaker to take up a discussion under Rule 184, which ends with as a vote.”
Plan to corner Left
The BJP’s strategy is to force the Left to come out against the deal, as well, though the two Communist parties have reserved judgment till completion of their discussion with experts.
Malhotra said the BJP couldn’t accept the agreement, as it does not address its concerns regarding India's strategic programme. The Prime Minister is to inform Parliament about the deal when the session begins.
VP joins anti-deal chorus
Former Prime Minister V P Singh also sought a mechanism wherein signing of all international treaties would require prior approval from Parliament. He said the draft 123 agreement to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal was a "charter for dependence on the US" which gave Washington "unfettered" rights to terminate the pact and seek return of all material supplied by it.
Singh demanded that the government make public the financial viability of use of nuclear power and the percentage of energy requirement it would fulfill in the future.
"Currently, nuclear power comprises just three per cent of the total power produced in the country. I have been told by experts that this figure would go up to seven per cent once this deal is operationalised," he said.
Singh said the deal would make India dependent on the US for uranium supplies for power plants.