Rahul backs n-deal, says ‘all’ young MPs do so too (Second Lead)

July 16th, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Rajat Rai
Amethi (Uttar Pradesh), July 16 (IANS) All young MPs, including those in the opposition, were in favour of the India-US civil nuclear deal, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi said here Wednesday while declaring his “100 percent” support for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the pact. “All young Lok Sabha members even from the opposition, for instance the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), are crystal clear that the nuclear deal is in the country’s interest,” Gandhi told reporters during a visit to his constituency.

The 38-year-old Congress MP added that he had not come across a “single youngster”, even in opposition parties, who opposed the nuclear deal — that led to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government being reduced to a minority with the Left parties withdrawing their support.

According to him, parties opposed to the deal had divisions within themselves.

“I will support the prime minister 100 percent on this (the deal),” Gandhi asserted.

Expressing his faith in Manmohan Singh, Gandhi said: “One has to take risks in life; if the government falls (in the parliament floor test), so be it. ”

Describing the prime minister as an “upright leader” with vision, Gandhi said he was acting in the interests of the nation.

“If something is (done) in the interest of the people, numbers do not matter… Sometimes the government has to take a risk to achieve a milestone.”

The Congress-led UPA government faces a crucial floor test in the Lok Sabha July 22 to prove its majority in the wake of the withdrawal of support by its erstwhile Communist allies.

Playing down reports over differences within the Congress over the prime minister’s stand on the nuclear deal, Gandhi said: “Senior leaders are convinced that if the prime minister has taken a decision, it is the right one.”

Gandhi, who is in charge of the student and youth wings of the Congress party, also said that Manmohan Singh’s stand on the nuclear deal reminded him of his late father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi’s initiatives vis-a-vis the IT revolution.

“I am proud of the prime minister as he has shown his tenacity, vision and leadership,” Gandhi said.

“Nuclear technology, be it even for the sake of producing electricity, is a must to make India a global power,” he insisted.

Discussing the situation in Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said the state lagged behind other states in implementing central government schemes.

“The priority of all states, including Uttar Pradesh, should be removing poverty and UP is not up to the mark. We are ready to give all possible support to the UP government in all the initiatives taken by it for the upliftment of the poor,” Gandhi asserted.

Referring to his much discussed surprise stays at the homes of Dalit families, he said: ” A poor person is poor whether he is a Dalit or Brahmin. I stay and sleep whereever I wish, irrespective of the caste and creed.”

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