BJP not anti-imperialist, dilutes stand on nuke deal

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New Delhi, Nov 6 (UNI) Diluting their stand on the Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation deal, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani today said the party was ready to discuss the deal in Parliament even under rule 193 although it was opposed to the present form of the 123 Agreement.

Talking to newspersons at a get-together organised by BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman Vijay Kumar Malhotra at his residence on the occasion of 'Diwali', Mr Advani, however, clarified that the party agreeing to have a discussion under any rule did not mean that it was diluting its opposition to the deal but it was only meant to correct the impression that the party was not ''anti-imperialist'' as was the case with the Left Parties.

The party had earlier been demanding a discussion on the nuclear deal only under 184, which entails voting.

Mr Advani said the BJP had been maintaining from the very beginning that the party was not ''anti-American'' but "our opposition to the deal is purely on the ground that it is affecting our nuclear sovereignty and therefore, it is not in the national interest." Therefore, I will like to differentiate between our opposition to the deal from that of the Left Parties which all along had an anti-American stance," the senior BJP leader said.

While conceding that the US had addressed to some of the concerns raised by the BJP in regard to the 123 Agreement, he said, ''We are not much satisfied with it." The BJP, he said, was in favour of a discussion on the nuclear issue. Asked if the change in the party's stand came after his meeting with the US Ambassador David Mulford, he said. "No, he has not come to me for discussing the nuclear issue." More UNI

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