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BJP corners centre on Arunachal

They say that the Left forced Centre not to allow issue to be raised till Hu left India, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Nov 23, 2006 23:33 IST

In a fresh stand-off with the government, Leaders of Opposition pressed for a resolution in Parliament declaring Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India.
They accused the government of kowtowing the Left to prevent the issue being raised in the Houses till Chinese President Hu Jintao left India.

Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha LK Advani said though the BJP had given advance notice to raise in Parliament the issue of Chinese Ambassador's recent remarks about his country's claims on Arunachal Pradesh, the Houses were adjourned to suit the government.

Advani, who was flaked by his counterpart in Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh and deputy leaders VK Malhotra and Sushma Swaraj, said Parliamentary Affairs Minister PR Dasmunshi had telephoned him to request deferring the matter to Friday because Hu was still travelling in India on Thursday. (Hu left Mumbai for Islamabad Thursday afternoon.)

"I told Dasmunshi that the BJP could defer the issue on a condition that the government give an assurance that it will move a resolution in Parliament declaring Arunachal Pradesh as an intergral part of the country."

Advani said Dasmunshi assured him that he would get back to him after talking to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But he did not hear from him again. Around 11 pm, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee called him to convey that the government wanted the BJP not to raise the issue till Hu left the country.

To which, Advani said his replay was that he was still awaiting a response from Dasmunshi to his proposal that the government move a resolution in Parliament on Arunachal Pradesh.

Advani said the BJP had conveyed its intention to raise the issue in the business advisory committees of the two Houses on Wednesday. “I am unaware why the government is shy of the issue being discussed in Parliament. After all, the territory of Arunachal Pradesh has never been an issue of dispute between India and China which has only contested on the location of the McMohan Line that signifies the border."

Advani said Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had categorically stated so in the Lok Sabha on November 8, 1962. "A resolution from Parliament in response to Ambassador Sun Yaxi's comments on Arunachal Pradesh ahead of Hu 's visit to India will convey to China the sentiments of people of India and that of the state,” he said.

Replying to a question why the NDA did not get Parliament to pass such a resolution when it was in power, Jaswant Singh said it was for the first time that China had laid claim on Arunachal Pradesh though it had disputed the border in the eastern sector.

Singh said, "diplomacy is not about pleasing people. If the Chinese envoy make the claim on the eve of Hu’s visit, cannot the Indian Parliament discuss the issue when he’s about to leave?”

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj alleged the government did not want a debate on the Chinese claims on Arunachal Pradesh in Parliament because of Left pressure. BJP MPs from the state—Khiren Rijiju and Tapir Gao—said Parliament needed to send a reassurance message to the people of Arunachal Pradesh following China’s claim.

First Published: Nov 23, 2006 22:58 IST