Brickbats, bouquets for PM’s N-retreat
A day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh de-linked the future of the government from the fate of the India-US civil nuclear deal, the Opposition BJP on Saturday went on an overdrive attacking the ruling alliance. Ally DMK, however, appreciated him for his “political maturity”.
Leader of the Opposition LK Advani said Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi “owe an explanation to the nation as to why they caused virtual paralysis of their own government for past three months by being so adamant” before giving in.
He said the majority in Parliament never wanted the “flawed deal” to go through. “The Left parties are against it just because it is an agreement with the US and they would not like New Delhi to have any truck with Washington. The BJP’s rejection of the proposed agreement is essentially on the grounds that the government is jeopardising India’s national security in the name of illusory energy security.”
He said the “ineptitude, arrogance, immaturity and lack of conviction” displayed in the past three months by Singh and Sonia “show that the thoroughly opportunist alliance that is the UPA is unfit to govern India”.
The DMK, a key partner in the UPA, heaped praise on Singh and Sonia for their observations at the HT Leadership Summit. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M Karunanidhi wrote to both.
In his letter to Singh, Karunanidhi wrote: “Your observation that failure to clinch the nuclear deal was not the end of life and that to overcome long-term problems smaller challenges and setbacks have to be borne reflected your political experience and maturity. I can fully understand your feelings.”
In his letter to Sonia, who is also the UPA chairperson, Karunanidhi praised her for her observations on the need to adhere to coalition dharma. “Your words that coalition dharma means respecting the views of the coalition partners and working in tandem with them reflects your deep understanding of political parameters. Such a constructive approach in solving problems will help in the progress of the country,” he wrote.
“I offer my congratulations to you.”
Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani has accused the prime minister and the UPA chairperson of “inglorious surrender” to the Left parties on the nuclear issue.
Borrowing a phrase from columnist Prem Shankar Jha’s article published in the October 8 edition of the Hindustan Times, Jethmalani described the incumbent regime as a “government of wimps” and said that the UPA chairperson – through her “meek surrender” – had deprived her son Rahul Gandhi of a glorious opportunity to change the people’s perceptions of the Congress party.
“Youth is the dynamo that powers the mechanism of progress in a hostile environment and Rahul had a lucky chance to show the stern stuff of which a young man of his age should be made,” Jethmalani wrote in a letter to Sonia.
In a separate letter to the Prime Minister, Jethmalani said he was anguished over the “most ignoble and expensive surrender” by the Congress before the “enemies of the nation”.
“I do not know how you will repair the damage,” he wrote.