PM has no personal stake in nuke deal: Cong

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New Delhi, Oct 23: Throwing its weight behind Dr Manmohan Singh on the Indo-US Nuclear deal issue, the Congress today said Dr Singh had no "personal stake" in the pact but what was at stake was the credibility of 60 years of post-independent foreign policy.

The party also justified Dr Singh becoming ''emotional'' at the UPA meeting yesterday, saying that any patriotic citizen should be emotional when it came to issues of national interests.

"But his becoming emotional should not be treated as a weakness," AICC General Secretary in charge of Media Veerappa Moily told mediapersons at the party headquarters, while describing Dr Singh as a "honest and sensitive politician".

He rejected as "absolutely false" the report that Dr Singh had offered to resign at yesterday's meeting after complaining that he was let down by the UPA allies who went public against the deal after being in agreement with the government at the cabinet meeting.

"Our Prime Minister is not such a weak person," he said.

"Dr Singh has to think about the country behind him. It is not a political expediency. What is at stake is the credibility of the country and not mere credibility of the Prime Minister alone. Dr Singh has no personal stake, but the country has a big stake," he said.

"Today, it is the nuke deal and tomorrow it will be something else. But what credibility would our Prime Ministers have when they go to other countries (if the deal is not operationalised)?" he asked.

On the reports that Dr Singh became emotional at the meeting of Congress with its ruling UPA allies yesterday, he said, "any patriot of the country should have been emotional...As a patriot, he should be emotional, naturally." In this context, Mr Moily said international agreements had their own sanctity, adding that the deal had already been struck and only the 123 Agreement had to be operationalised.

Earlier, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan said separately that the "123 Agreement could be taken forward even by the next administration."

Asked about the claim of the Left parties that the deal had been put on hold till November 16 after yesterday's UPA-Left panel meet, Mr Moily said, "We never said it is put on hold. We passed the first phase (signing of the agreement) and we are now into the second phase (operationalisation of the deal)." In this context, he pointed out that China took 30 years to operationalise a similar deal.

Asserting that the UPA government would complete its full five year term, he said the Congress, the UPA allies and the Left parties were not in favour of an early election as it would be difficult to face the people without fulfilling the mandate given by them. "We will have to complete the promises given to the people in the next 18 months." The NDA was willing to go to early polls as they had nothing to explain to the people.

Asked why there was confusion among people with regard to the UPA-Left panel, Mr Moily said, "what is an ongoing process...there are many committees. Let us get into business. Our government will go on, we are not deterred." To a question of whether the November 16 meeting of the UPA-Left would be the last, he said, "there is no deadline. The meeting would go on till a solution is found. Our goal is to complete five years." Asked what was on the top of the Congress' agenda --completing five years or operationalising the nuke deal, Mr Moily said, "Let us not take it to the extreme."



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