The Question Hour was deferred on Friday to let highly agitated Opposition members raise the issue of US senator's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging India to back off from its engagements with Iran to save the nuclear deal. The Opposition alleged that the government had compromised India’s sovereignty.
It was only when Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunshi categorically assured that the government will "never compromise" India's sovereignty and that the Prime Minister will make a statement on the issue after the Question Hour that the members pacified.
As soon as the House met in the morning BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, CPM leader Brinda Karat and JD-U leader Digvijay Singh raised the issue and wanted the Question Hour to be suspended to take up the issue.
Chairman Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, after initially asking the members to let the Question Hour be held, sensed the mood of the House and allowed the leaders to speak on the subject.
Yashwant Sinha said that certain "dangerous" developments were taking place and the government of India led by the Congress Party seemed to be buckling under US pressure to accept the terms prescribed in the Hyde Act. This flies in the face of the assurance given by Prime Minister to the Parliament, he added.
"We must send a strong message to US Senators that such pressures will not be tolerated," he added.
Brinda Karat said that a very strong protest must be registered on the "temerity of some US senators" to insult the Indian Prime Minister by writing a letter which was an "open threat" to the sovereignty of the nation. She called for condemnation of the letter by the House.
"The US Ambassador must be immediately called and told that this country is not for sale," she said.
Digvijay Singh said that Iran was a friend and will remain a friend of India and 100 crore Indians will not bow to US pressure. "Under their pressure we will not snap out relations with Iran," he added.
The Opposition leaders also alleged that the government was keeping in dark the ongoing negotiations with the US even though the Parliament was in session. "When the signing of the agreement takes place, the Parliament will not be in session," Karat pointed out.
The Opposition leaders wanted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to come to the House and make a statement.
Dasmunshi said the UPA government didnot believe in hiding anything from the Parliament and believed in transparent transactions and had been coming from time to time to the House to make statements on negotiations taking place with the US.
He said the UPA philosophy and legacy from the time of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru was never to compromise on national sovereignty.
There was big difference in the philosophy of UPA and NDA. His remarks in Hindi that it was the BJP which had been buckling under US pressure led to an uproar and BJP members rushed to the well in protest but the chairman expunged the remarks.
Following his assurance that the Prime Minister will be informed of the sentiments of the House and will make a statement in the House, the Question Hour was taken up.