Rahul says young MPs back n-deal, BJP challenges him (Third Lead)

July 16th, 2008 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party

Amethi/New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi Wednesday said all young MPs cutting across party lines support the India-US civil nuclear deal, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he was “day-dreaming” and challenged him to name the young MPs. “All young Lok Sabha members even from the opposition, for instance the BJP, are crystal clear that the nuclear deal is in the country’s interest,” Gandhi said in Amethi during a visit to his constituency in Uttar Pradesh.

The 38-year-old Congress MP added that he had not come across a “single youngster”, even in the 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.

The BJP did not kindly to the remarks.

“Rahul Gandhi should stop day-dreaming. We will recommend him to stop being childish,” said Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the BJP spokesman. He dared Gandhi to name the BJP MPs who support the deal.

“It is advisable that, instead of hallucinating on the political situation of the day, he should spell out the names of young MPs who toe the line in his favour.”

Talking to reporters in Amethi, Gandhi also vowed his support for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the nuclear deal.

“I will support the prime minister 100 percent on this (the deal),” he 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 people, numbers do not matter… Sometimes the government has to take a risk to achieve a milestone.”

The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (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 the Left parties.

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-

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