No support to Indo-US N-deal says Advani

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Raipur, Mar 8: Senior BJP leader L K Advani today said his party would not support the Manmohan Singh-led government in signing the Indo-US nuclear agreement in its present form and the BJP was against restrictions on the conduct of nuclear tests.

''We are not against the United States. We are not against friendship between India and the US,'' he said here while addressing a women's convention organised by the Chhattisgarh government to mark International Women's Day. Pointing out that the BJP would not favour restrictions on the country's future nuclear programme, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha said that, if necessary ,India should go for Pokhran-III. ''We are not against the deal but cannot give a guarantee that we will not conduct nuclear tests,'' he added.

Mr Advani said that the Prime Minister criticised the National Democratic Alliance government, headed by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for conducting the Pokhran-II tests while it was during the tenure of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that Pokhran-I was conducted.

Stating that security would be a major issue raised by the BJP in the coming elections, he said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime had no moral right to criticise the BJP as it had failed to execute Parliament Attack convict Afzal Guru.

Mr Advani said the UPA government also failed to check inflation, which was affecting the masses -- mostly women -- across the country. ''Be it the farmers' suicides or security, the UPA regime could do nothing,'' he alleged.

Addressing the convention, Chief Minister Raman Singh said his government introduced a unique food security scheme under which 34 lakh families living Below the Poverty Line would be provided 35 kg rice every month at Rs 3 per kg.

Pointing out that his regime was taking stern action against those misappropriating rice meant for the poor, he urged women to ''gherao and blacken the face'' of those attempting to siphon off rice from fair price shops.

Referring to the initiatives taken by his government to improve the condition of peasants, the Chief Minister said, ''I don't think that ryots just need a loan waiver. Farmers must get agricultural loans at four per cent interest.'' BJP Vice-President Karuna Shukla, ministers, and other party functionaries were among those present.


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