I was punished for US stance: Natwar
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I was punished for US stance: Natwar

The suspended Congress leader and former foreign minister says he was made a scapegoat in the Volcker case.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 23:34 IST

Suspended Congress leader and former external affairs minister K Natwar Singh on Wednesday said he has been punished by the party because of his stance on US policies.

Addressing a rally here organised by the Kisan Sangarsh Samiti Rajasthan and the Rajasthan Jat Mahasabha in his support, Natwar Singh said he was made a scapegoat in the oil-for-food scam.

"Some party leaders were unhappy with my views on the US foreign policy and that is the main reason behind my suspension," he told the rally, attended by over 30,000 people, mostly from rural areas.

The former minister said India signed the nuclear deal with the US after long deliberations, but Washington made a few fundamental departures from the original text of the agreement, which was not in favour of New Delhi.

"I vehemently opposed the fundamental changes made in the agreement, which I feel were against the country's interest, but a few people within the Manmohan Singh government did not like my stand on the issue," he said.

Natwar Singh said in recent times India has become a camp follower of the US, which was against the country's established policy.

He alleged that a section of the Congress leadership did not allow him to express his feelings in Parliament about the country's foreign policy.

He said his political future entirely depends on Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

"I leave the decision on my political future in the Congress entirely on Sonia Gandhi."

Natwar Singh's son Jagat said in spite of the Pathak Inquiry Authority not finding any trace of kickbacks paid to him or his father in the Iraqi scam, the party chose to punish them.

Jagat was also suspended from the Rajasthan Congress last week.

The Congress, which did not take part in Wednesday's rally, alleged the meeting was backed by the BJP and government machinery was used to bring people from far away places to make it a success.

"The BJP government extended all kinds of support for the rally's success," alleged state Congress president BD Kalla.

First Published: Aug 23, 2006 20:12 IST