PM discusses N-deal with Vajpayee | india | Hindustan Times
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PM discusses N-deal with Vajpayee

The prime minister discusses the Indo-US nuclear deal with former prime minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition LK Advani, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2007 00:47 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed the Indo-US nuclear deal with former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Leader of Opposition L.K. Advani.

Singh had gone to Vajpayee’s residence to inquire about his health. But, as the meeting took place on the eve of Parliament’s winter session, the leaders took the opportunity to discuss the deal, which is to be taken for debate. The meeting lasted for 20 minutes.

Vajpayee sent for Advani who left a meeting of the BJP parliamentary board to be present when the Prime Minister came. Advani is understood to have conveyed to the Prime Minister the misgivings of the BJP on the deal in its present form. The PM is stated to have explained the government’s approach on the matter, including the proposed talks with the IAEA for India-specific nuclear safeguards.

On November 7, after a meeting of its core group, Advani, Jaswant Singh and Rajnath Singh had reiterated that the deal should be renegotiated and not hustled through as it "compromises" with the country's long-term strategic programmes.

Meanwhile, the winter session of Parliament beginning on Thursday will see sparks fly with a range of issues from the Nandigram violence and the stalled India-US nuclear deal to problems faced by farmers and wheat imports providing the ammunition for rival parties.

The Nandigram issue is expected to make the three-week session of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha a stormy affair and may push the nuclear deal to the back seat amid signs of a thaw between the UPA and the Left.

The Left parties, especially the CPI-M, which provides outside support to the UPA government may find itself in the corner on the Nandigram issue with the BJP, the main opposition party, keeping its powder dry.

An indication to this effect was given on Tuesday by Advani, who dubbed the violence in West Bengal as shocking. The saffron party and critics of the Left parties are also expected to cash in on West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s remarks that the Nandigram area resembled a “war zone”.