Atal Bihari Vajpayee may lead the BJP’s attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when Parliament takes up a debate on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal this week.
Party leaders said Vajpayee is likely to seize the opportunity to counter the government’s oft-repeated argument that it was the NDA government that initiated the steps for nuclear cooperation with the United States. Vajpayee wishes to reiterate that though this is true, Singh rushed India into getting a “flawed” deal with “grave consequences” for India’s strategic interests. Vajpayee is likely to intervene in Lok Sabha, where the BJP has sought a debate under a rule that allows voting against the government.
The PM is scheduled to make a statement on the deal on Monday.
Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who will lead the BJP attack in Rajya Sabha, told HT: “Not just the 123 agreement, the Hyde Act and the fundamentally different statements by American and Indian officials that we have heard... will form the basis of our arguments against the deal.” He said that apart from the preliminary objections made by the BJP, the party was also alarmed by statements from Washington that it is up to India to convince the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group to change its guidelines when under the terms of the July 2005 joint statement, the US had taken the responsibility of getting the cartel to allow nuclear commerce with India.
PM must quit: VP Singh
The nuclear deal seems to have brought Manmohan Singh nothing but grief at home. On Sunday, he came under fresh with VP Singh accusing him of “ignoring the spirit of democracy” and asking him to resign if he is unable to renegotiate or terminate the agreement. The former PM also called on the Left to withdraw support, saying that having declared that the government had failed to take care of national interests, it would lose all credibility if it did not withdraw support now.
With inputs from HS Bartwal