Pawar blasts BJP for opposing Nuke deal, Sethusamudram Project

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Mumbai, Sep 21 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today flayed the BJP-led NDA for opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal by disrupting Parliament during the Monsoon session and also accused it of dividing people on the Ram Sethu issue.

Addressing Mumbai NCP unit's workers, Mr Pawar came out stongly in defence of the civil nuke deal and asserted that it does not come in the way of India's sovereignty in any manner.

''As far as the Sethusamudram project is concerned, it was the BJP led NDA which conceived the project and now they have made it a political issue, attempting to divide the people,'' he added.

Without referring to comments on Lord Ram made by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi, the NCP chief said ''People are entitled to their views and airing it openly is a democrtic right. Many people in the South do not agree with the Ravana dahan during Dassera. It does not affect people's faith in Lord Ram in any way. Respecting each other's views is what democracy is all about.'' Considering the instability in India's neighbourhood, Mr Pawar said the country needs a strong government and stable, united society, and added that the party which was in power at the Centre just three and half years ago did just the opposite.

The Minister rejected the BJP's allegations of a wheat scam and criticism that he was more concentrated on running the affairs of cricket rather than his ministry.

Without referring to the Left's opposition to nuclear deal, he said the Hyde Act enacted by the US Congress was not binding on India.

''India will be able to produce 20,000 mega watts of electricity due to the nuclear civilian energy agreement. When the Vajpayee government conducted the Pokhran II blasts, important countries of the world, including the US, imposed sanctions on India. Mr Vajpayee and his foreign minister tried their best to make the Americans change their mind. In the nuclear deal, India's self-respect and sovereignty has not been compromised at all,'' he told the party workers.

Exhorting the cadre to foil the BJP's gameplan of dividing the society, the NCP chief said his party was all for implementation of the Sachar Committee's recommendations to bring minorities in the national mainstream.

''The report is an eye opener on the status of the Muslims at present and it has made suggestions to provide more facilities like education and employment to the community. NCP will support all efforts towards implementation of the report and even take to the streets in support of the demand,'' Mr Pawar added.

UNI

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