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Somnath surprised by Amar Singh's claim

india Updated: May 20, 2009 20:55 IST

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Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee on Wednesday expressed surprise at the statement of Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh that he had requested him to support the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying it was "without any basis or foundation".

Soon after Singh made the claim at a press conference here, Chatterjee issued a press statement regretting that the "Speaker has been dragged into a needless controversy".

He was reacting to Amar Singh's claim that SP had changed its stand on the nuclear deal and supported the UPA government during a trust vote last year at the behest of Chatterjee despite "bitter relations" with Congress.

Chatterjee asserted that he had "never made any observation at any point of time about the merits or otherwise of the nuclear deal" and there was no need for him to offer any advice in this matter.

"I am extremely surprised to learn that Amar Singh has stated that I had requested his party to support the government on the nuclear deal," Chatterjee said.

"I am constrained to say that the statement of my good friend is without any basis or foundation whatsoever," he added.