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House debate not before August 29

The Left's demand that the government shelve the Indo-US nuclear deal has delayed a parliamentary debate on the subject, report Saroj Nagi and Anil Anand.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2007 02:31 IST
Saroj Nagi and Anil Anand
Saroj Nagi and Anil Anand
Hindustan Times

The Left's demand that the government shelve the Indo-US nuclear deal has delayed a parliamentary debate on the subject. The debate can now be held only after August 29.

Over the next three days, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Muhkerjee will be busy with visiting Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, who will also address MPs in the Central Hall of Parliament on Wednesday.

Friday is out, as attendance is thin that day, with most MPs leaving for their constituencies for the weekend. This time, the weekend holiday would be extended by two days because of Raksha Bandhan on Tuesday. “The earliest the debate can take place is on August 29,” said a Congress leader. Even that would be contingent on the prime minister and foreign minister’s availability.

But as part of the exercise of disseminating the Centre’s stand on the deal, the government is sending out to all UPA and Left MPs a copy in English and Hindi explaining what the nuclear deal is all about.

Taking the issue into the public domain is high on the agenda of the UPA, with the Congress fielding noted lawyer Kapil Sibal to reiterate the points made by senior ministers like Pranab Mukherjee on the Left’s concerns about the implications of the Hyde Act and the operationalisation of the deal. It was pointed out that the deal cannot become operational before December 2008.

Claiming that the deal was to India’s benefit, Sibal urged the Left not to precipitate matters before “hearing us out”. He added that the bilateral agreement in no way binds India to the Hyde Act, which is an internal legislation of the United States. “No international agreement can be subject to a national law,” he claimed.

The UPA parties have already identified how they will package it. “The deal is necessary for the aam aadmi and his development. You need electricity for developing villages and the hinterland. Unless you provide infrastructural facilities to the people, how will there be development,” asked RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

First Published: Aug 21, 2007 02:29 IST

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