Congress President Sonia Gandhi has addressed a letter to her party colleagues in which she congratulates Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his team of “able negotiators” for hammering out a treaty with the United States that will lift the decades-old embargo on nuclear trade and allow India to expand its energy sector.
Published in the party’s journal Sandesh, the letter does not mark any shift in the Congress’s position on the deal. But its publication in the run-up to the debate in Parliament and the UPA’s proposed talks on the deal with the Left parties is proof that the Congress will flag the 123 Agreement as an achievement as and when elections are held for the 15th Lok Sabha.
By way of this letter, Sonia is seen as calling upon party workers to flag the deal with common people as one of the major achievements of the Manmohan Singh government. Regardless of speculation to the contrary, the Congress has been on board with the PM since the deal was initialed with US negotiators. Sonia said the pact satisfies all conditions laid out before Parliament.
Sonia said negotiations with the US had been conducted while keeping national interests in the forefront and emphasised that India’s nuclear defence programme had not in the least bit been undermined because of the treaty.
Criticising the BJP-led NDA for frequently disrupting Parliamentary proceedings, Sonia expressed the hope that the Opposition would use the forum of the Parliament to air their differences instead of wasting precious time and the taxpayers’ money through unnecessary adjournments.
Many political observers predict early elections. And a catchy slogan for the UPA in that eventuality could be that the BJP isn’t allowing it to work in Parliament.