N-deal would invite one-sided US inspection: Buddhadeb

July 18th, 2008 - 12:16 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Kolkata, July 17 (IANS) Amid a boycott by the principal opposition parties, Trinamool Congress and the Congress, the West Bengal assembly Thursday debated the India-US nuclear deal, which Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said would only invite “one-sided” US inspection of the country’s nuclear programmes. Participating in the discussion, Bhattacharjee said the Left parties were staunchly opposed to the treaty as it would compromise the nation’s sovereignty.

Bhattacharjee said contrary to the claims of the Congress, the deal would neither ensure nuclear energy nor provide the related technologies to India.

Seeking to draw a distinction between the stance taken by the Left parties and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the issue, Bhattacharjee said while the Left opposed the deal from the outset, the BJP was earlier in favour of it and changed course to topple the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.

He alleged that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) had initiated the process of the deal, but was now doing a volte face to further its political ends.

Bhattacharjee recalled that the Left parties had extended support to the foreign policies of the Congress government on various occasions in the past, despite strongly opposing its domestic programmes.

“But the communists have been protesting against the deal since July 2005, when the UPA government initiated the 10-year Defence Framework Agreement,” he said.

The Congress boycotted the assembly discussion, while the Trinamool Congress lawmakers stayed away from the house throughout the day.

Interestingly, West Bengal Left leader Subhas Chakraborty, who Wednesday again indicated that it would not be correct to vote against the Congress-led government along with the BJP, did not attend the assembly session.

Chakraborty, a Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretariat member, Monday said in a letter to party general secretary Prakash Karat that the communists would have to answer embarrassing questions from the people if its MPs voted against the Congress.

The four Left parties withdrew support to the UPA last week protesting against the government’s move to go ahead with the deal. The government has opted for a trust vote in the Lok Sabha on July 22.

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