BJP, Left ask Manmohan Singh to quit (Lead)

September 4th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) The country’s major opposition parties - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) - Thursday called for immediate resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for “misleading” the nation on the India-US nuclear deal.In separate news conferences, the two opposition parties insisted on a special session of parliament being convened, and the BJP even threatened to move a privilege motion against the prime minister if its demand was not met.

The BJP-Left call came hours before the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG), which controls the world’s nuclear fuel and equipment supply, was to begin a two-day special session in Vienna to decide on a “clean waiver” to allow nuclear commerce with India.

At least six members in the NSG are demanding insertion of condition that all commerce with India will be terminated if it conducts another nuclear test.

Mounting pressure on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, BJP leader and former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha said with party colleague Arun Shourie by his side: “The government is guilty of gross breach of privilege of both houses of parliament.”

“The government has no business to continue in office and should step down immediately,” he said at a press conference.

“If they fail to do so, we want that a special session of parliament be called immediately, perhaps in a week’s time, so that a breach of privilege motion can be moved against the government and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.”

Echoing the BJP’s demand, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said: “Manmohan Singh should quit. They should either call parliament (session), or resign,” he said.

The demand comes a day after the Washington Post published details of the letter the US State Department to the US Congress in which it categorically said that all nuclear commerce with India would be immediately halted if it conducted a nuclear test.

“The letter is a firm reiteration of what the Bush government has been saying from time to time, but the UPA government has taken an ‘ostrich’ like attitude to the storm that has been gathering over our heads,” Sinha said.

“This and other facts were deliberately hidden by the Congress-led coalition government and the Bush administration. The letter was written nine months before and had it been made public before July 22 trust vote, the Manmohan Singh government would not have won the trust vote.”

Sinha argued that the 123 agreement between India and the US derives from the Hyde Act. “The act is not only relevant, it is binding on the agreement. India cannot escape from the rigours of the Hyde Act,” he said.

The UPA government has been arguing that the Hyde Act is a domestic piece of legislation and not binding on India and that it would go only by the 123 agreement and the July 18, 2005 joint statement signed by Manmohan Singh and US President George W. Bush.

The CPI-M general secretary alleged that the new revelation by the US daily is contrary to what the prime minister said in parliament.

All the parties are going to meet President Patil to urge her to immediately convene the monsoon session of parliament, Karat said.

Describing the government as “shameless,” Karat said his party would do everything possible in parliament to get rid of the government.

“Why are they afraid of parliament? Why are they running away from parliament?” the CPI-M leader asked.

The monsoon season is over in India, ironically the monsoon session of parliament would be held Oct 17, Karat said.

The US State Department gagged the details of the nuclear deal till date, as it is diplomatically sensitive to India, Karat said.

“The Indian government was fully aware that the fuel supply assurance did not cover a termination of the 123 agreement and they have deliberately misled the country,” Karat said.

Karat also claimed that his party had got the contents of the document that the Washington Post published two months ago and said an article was written in the party’s mouthpiece “People’s Democracyā€¯.

US Ambassador David Mulford said in a statement Wednesday that the US government had already shared all the provisions that were talked of in the Washington Post report and there was nothing new in them.

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