Nuclear issue was NDA's top agenda: Advani

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New Delhi, Mar 14: Asserting that the constituents of NDA were totally united on making India a 'nuclear weapon state', Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L K Advani today noted that the nuclear issue does not even get a mention in the UPA's Common Minimum Programme(CMP) whereas it was a top priority agenda for the BJP-led government.

Addressing the India Today Conclave on how his party's leadership was different from that of Congress, Mr Advani -- who has been projected as the NDA's PM candidate -- said when the 20-odd parties in the NDA assumed power under Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, they may have had differences on key contentious issues like the Ram temple at Ayodhya, Article 370 and the Common Civil Code but not on making India a nuclear weapon State.

''The NDA parties brought it in the National Agenda for Governance (NAG) and Pokhran II tests had taken place within months of NDA coming to power,'' he said, noting that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who was then Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, had bitterly criticised the tests.

''This was in contrast with the Opposition which hailed the first Pokhran test by the then Indira Gandhi regime, breaking away from the Nehruvian doctrine of peaceful use of nuclear energy,'' he said.

Disclosing that a colleague had called him to say that the UPA government had ''privately told'' the Left that they would not press with the deal, he said he ''really don't know what is the truth'' and quipped that it ''was for journalists like Mr Prabhu Chawla to dig it out.'' Mr Advani said the BJP regarded nuclear tests as top three successes of the country. ''The first two successes were India's sustainance as a democracy when it had failed in other countries in the region and the world and disbanding of Licence Permit Raj system under P V Narasimha Rao regime.'' He said during his discussions with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, he had explained in detail how BJP's opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal was very different to that of the Left. ''The deal sought to treat India as 'an unequal' and was thus not acceptable to the BJP whereas the Left's opposition was because it was happening with the US,'' he said.

UNI

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