Advani breached Official Secrets Act: Sinha

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New Delhi, May 11: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has taken head on his party's Prime Ministerial candidate L K Advani on the Kandahar hijack episode, saying the Leader of the Opposition's comment on the controversial issue was a ''breach'' of the Official Secrets Act.

In an interview to a private TV news channel, the former Union Minister said the discussion and views expressed during the course of a Cabinet meeting and more so in the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) should never be disclosed. ''His comment is violation of the Official Secrets Act,'' Mr Sinha said. Mr Advani had claimed that he was unaware of the Cabinet decision to release the three terrorists in exchange of passengers of Indian Airlines flight IC-814, hijacked and finally taken to Kandahar in December 1999.

In the interview to News 24 telecast last night, Mr Sinha touched upon a number of issues which created controversies within the BJP and the Sangh Parivar.

He also sought to distance himself from Mr Advani's controversial Jinnah episode. ''I am neither in favour of his (Mr Advani's) comment on (Pakistan founder) Mohammad Ali Jinnah nor in opposition to that,'' the BJP leader said.

On Indo-Us civil nuclear agreement, the former External Affairs Minister said the UPA government would not be able to sign the deal due to the strong opposition by the Left parties, which were supporting the ruling coalition.

''Even if for a moment we assume that the BJP offers its support for the nuclear deal, the UPA government will not be able to sign it. The Left parties will not agree to it.'' On former National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra's change of heart vis-a-vis the Indo-US nuclear deal, Mr Sinha said while he may be convinced by the arguments of the UPA government the BJP was not and still opposed the agreement.
The former Finance Minister squarely blamed the UPA policies for the sky-rocketing price rise, saying the Congress-led government, in an effort to keep the subsidy budget under check, allowed the stocks of foodgrains to reduce. ''It is the reason for the UPA government's inability to check the spiralling price rise,'' he added.

Mr Sinha also said the time was not ripe for choosing a candidate for former Prime Minister and BJP ''tallest leader'' Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lok Sabha constituency Lucknow.

Some reports have suggested that Mr Vajpayee would not be able to contest the next Lok Sabha elections due to ill-health.

The BJP leader also spoke on the demand within the Congress to project General Secretary Rahul Gandhi as the party's Prime Ministerial candidate in the next General elections.

''The Congress does not seem to have much of a choice. The party is bound to choose someone from the Nehru-Gandhi family, and they seem to have made the choice,'' he said.

Sometime ago, Mr Sinha said there was demand within the Congress that Mr Rahul Gandhi be made the party General Secretary.

''And now he is on the post. Today, the slogan is to name Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Ministerial candidate, he will become the Prime Minister if the people of India choose the Congress in the next General Elections,'' he said.

UNI

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