It’s a Congres-BJP trade-off, claims opposition (Lead)

August 18th, 2010 - 8:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) The Left and other opposition parties Wednesday alleged that the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have struck a give and take deal over the civil nuclear liability bill in return for Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to be let off in the 2005 staged shootout of Sohrabuddin Sheikh.

As a parliamentary panel report on the controversial nuclear liability legislation was tabled in both houses of parliament amid a din, the non-BJP opposition parties cried foul over the bill which has been a major contention between the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

“Narendra Modi got a clean chit when the Congress required the BJP’s support for the nuclear liability bill,” Communist Party of India-Marxist Rajya Sabha member Brinda Karat told reporters.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad said his “worst fear” of a Congress-BJP nexus had come true.

“There is clear nexus between the Congress and the BJP. They have joined hands. In return for the BJP’s support to the nuclear bill, the Congress has agreed to let Modi off the CBI hook in the (Sohrabuddin) fake encounter case,” Lalu Prasad told IANS.

“Our worst fear has come true,” he said, adding former minister of state for home in Gujarat Amit Shah was only a “small fish” to have been arrested in the case.

Shah now in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) custody is an accused in the alleged staged shootout case in 2005 in which Sohrabuddin Sheikh was gunned down and passed off as a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant.

“How can a minister of state do something without the senior minister knowing?” Lalu Prasad said, flashing a newspaper clipping on the CBI’s clean chit to Modi.

Echoing Lalu Prasad’s views, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh told reporters that it was “evident” that the two parties have developed a nexus.

“The CBI has given a clean chit to Modi on the same day” the stand-off over the civil nuclear liability bill between the Congress and the BJP was cleared, he said.

The BJP rebutted the allegations, saying Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh were “speaking of their own experience”.

“They have been let off by the CBI in many cases for favouring the government. They know it happens. But in our case, we exerted pressure on the government on protecting the interest of the nation,” BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad reacted to RJD-SP allegations.

He said the hike in the compensation cap from Rs.500 crore, as provided in the earlier draft, to Rs.1,500 crore in case of a nuclear accident is in the “best interest of the nation”.

“This is what we wanted. The interests of the country needed to be protected and it was done only after the BJP exerted pressure on the government,” Prasad told IANS outside parliament.

Another BJP leader, M. Venkaiah Naidu, said: “Certain parts of the nuclear liability bill were not good and we forced the government to change it.”

The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) also alleged the trade-off but said the Congress had agreed to remain silent over the “rampant” corruption in the Karnataka government.

“There is rampant corruption in Karnataka. Look at the illegal mining. The Congress government (at the centre) is silent,” the BSP’s Dara Singh Chauhan said.

The non-BJP parties stalled the proceedings of parliament Wednesday, forcing repeated disruptions before both houses were adjourned for the day.

Earlier, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan, along with RJD members Ram Kripal Yadav and Rajneeti Prasad staged a sit-in outside parliament over the same issue.

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