N-deal debate betrays 'hollowness' of BJP: Sonia

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New Delhi, Dec 6: Launching a broadside on the BJP for its 'continuing obstruction' of Parliament, Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said the debate on the Indo-US Nuclear deal in both the Houses had again exposed the "hollowness" of the stand of the major Opposition party.

Addressing the General Body meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP), she expressed her strong support to the 123 Agreement, while pointing out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had, for the fifth time this week, reiterated that the agreement in no way impinged on the country's sovereignty. They had also assured to keep the Parliament fully informed at every step.

Apparently in view of the continuing efforts to find a common ground with the Left supporting parties on the deal, Ms Gandhi did not make any direct reference to the Left parties vis-a-vis the deal. However, she picked up the Nandigram violence in West Bengal to attack the Left.

Describing Nandigram incidents as "tragic and painful," she said, "the cult of violence and the manner in which armed party cadres prevented the law and order machinery from fulfilling its obligations to the people are most unfortunate." In this context, Ms Gandhi called for a permanent solution to ensure that such incidents did not occur again and again.

Regretting that the Parliament had lost a number of days because of the obstructionist attitude of the BJP during the Winter Session also, she said the frustration of the BJP at having lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election had not moderated with the passage of time.

Referring to the forthcoming elections in BJP-ruled Gujarat, Ms Gandhi said the people were looking forward to a change as they had seen through the hollow claims of the BJP leadership which also had active involvement in the "brutalities" which took place in 2002.

"In our campaign, we are reaffirming our firm commitment to fundamental Constitutional and secular values and highlighting the grave failures of the BJP government." Complaining that the promises made by the BJP over the past decade or more have turned out to be hollow in Gujarat, Ms Gandhi said "highly exaggerated and, in some cases, false claims on development are being made." Hoping that the party would get a renewed mandate in Himachal Pradesh, she said Congress Government in the state had worked for the welfare of the people and development of the state over the past five years.

Referring to the forthcoming elections in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland, she said the partymen should work hard to recapture the strong position the party used to have.

"In all the three states, political competition is keen but our party has taken up the challenge in right earnest."


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