Pranab Mukherjee brought the Lok Sabha down as it were when he told the Left parties not to get down a running train at the instigation of BJP. He told them to get at the next station. He meant that the Left withdrawing support from the UPA in the fourth year of the arrangement is like getting off a running train.And that they should wait till the 2009 election time.
He also used a homely simile to explain the nuclear agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). He compared the India-specific nuclear safeguards agreement with the IAEA as a passport and the arrangement with the NSG as that of a visa. He said one will able to travel with a passport and a visa, and it is for the country to decide whether it wants to travel or not. But to have those documents is useful because in case India wants to 'travel' then it will be equipped to do so.
Though L.K.Advani, leader of the BJP and the Opposition in Lok Sabha, said that both Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajiv Gandhi were for a nuclear weapon India and they opposed the dsicrimntory international regime of denying nuclear technology, Mukherjee gently reminded Advani that Nuclear Non-Prilferation Treaty (NPT) has come into existence in 1970, six years after Nehru's death in 1964, and that it is hard to imagine a dead man having views on an issue.
He showed tactical humility on behalf of Congress saying that he did not want the House to agree with him on the merits of the India-US civil nuclear deal, but to hear out the facts and his argument, and to make up their own mind about it at the time of voting on Tuesday.
When he ended his speech, which was brief and to the point compared to the long-winded, listless speech of Advani, Sonia Gandhi thumped the table the hardest. Prime MInister Manmohan Singh complimented him, and so did Finance Minister P.Chidambaram. A large number of Congress people lined up before Mukherjee's seat to shake hands with him and compliment him. When some of them tried to congratulate Sonia Gandhi -- it was an institnctive sycophancy of the Congress members at work! -- she told them politely that it is Mukherjee who needs to be complimented.
Mukherjee was also quite pleased at the plaudits he received. He looked a happy, contented man at that moment.
Monday, July 21, 2008
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