Future generations will recognise value of n-deal: Sonia (Second Lead)

July 17th, 2008 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

Nellore (Andhra Pradesh), July 17 (IANS) Stating that the India-US nuclear deal was in the nation’s interest, a combative Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Thursday hit out at the Left and said the government would not compromise on national security, the nuclear programme and foreign policy. In her first public remarks after the Left withdrew support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Gandhi said the future generations would recognise the value of the deal — which last week led to the Left withdrawing support to the government.

In a strong defence of the much discussed deal and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Gandhi said: “The nuclear agreement is in the best interest of the country. Future generations will recognise the value of this nuclear agreement and what the prime minister is doing today.”

Gandhi was addressing a crowded rally in this Andhra Pradesh town, about 500 km from the state capital Hyderabad.

Attempting to take the deal to masses, she explained how this would benefit the people: “This (deal) would enable more nuclear power plants so that we can generate more power. Our demand for electricity is growing day by day.”

“To eliminate power cuts, we need access to nuclear technology and this is what we want to do for the people. We need more and more power for farms, farmers, schools, hospitals and for every single village and house in the country.”

“We need latest nuclear technology and fuel power from other countries. This is what we want to do for our people. And how can we be faulted for striving to provide all this for our people?” she asked.

With only five days to go before the Congress-led government faces the crucial trust vote in parliament, Gandhi also asserted that the ruling coalition “was not compromising on our national security and foreign policy”.

“There is no question of compromising on our security interest, on our nuclear programme and our independent foreign policy,” Gandhi said.

She hit out at the Left and the opposition for their criticism on the deal and said the Congress did not need a certificate from anyone on patriotism and national interests.

“Which party gave India the independence and an independent foreign policy? It is the Congress party and no other party. It is the Congress party which launched and strengthened the nuclear programme. We need the support of other parties but we don’t need a certificate from any party on our patriotism and national interests.”

She was launching the Rajiv Arogyashri, the second phase of a health insurance scheme for the poor named after her late husband Rajiv Gandhi.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government was reduced to a minority last week after the Left parties pulled out following differences over the nuclear deal. The government faces a trust vote in parliament July 22.

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