Banatwala’s last press note puts IUML in a fix

July 2nd, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Kozhikode, July 2 (IANS) Half-an-hour before his death last month, national president of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) G.M. Banatwala issued a press release stating that the India-US civil nuclear deal was not “acceptable” to his party - a constituent of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA). IUML leader E. Ahamed is minister of state for external affairs in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government that is fighting for survival over its stance on the deal with the UPA’s Left partners threatening to withdraw support.

According to the press note: “As such the (nuclear) deal is not acceptable to the Indian Union Muslim League. The imperialism of Bush administration cannot be given quarters. The Congress needs to reconsider its views.”

The press note signed by Imran Qureshi, the press secretary of Banatwala, says it is the last statement by the leader, which was issued half an hour before his death on June 25.

However, IUML says its former leader’s position on the nuclear deal was no different from what the party has been following.

“There is nothing new in the statement. It has been the position of the Muslim League all along. India should not be treated as a junior partner in the nuclear deal and the interest of the country should be protected,” E.T. Muhammed Basheer, state secretary of IUML, told IANS.

When asked whether the party would pull out Ahamed from the ministry over the nuclear issue, he said: “Such decisions are taken by bodies like the national executive of the party.”

He said though the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) convened its politburo and threatened to back out from supporting the UPA, it had not withdrawn its leader Somnath Chatterjee from the post of Lok Sabha speaker.

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