Indo-US nuclear deal should be in welfare of country: Shekhawat

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Raipur, May 11 (UNI) Former Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat today said the Indo-US nuclear agreement should take place only keeping the interests of the country in mind and not based on the opinion of someone.

Mr Shekhawat's statement came while replying to a query by mediapersons on former President A P J Abdul Kalam's statement supporting the nuclear pact.

''It is more relevant whether the nuclear pact is in the interest of the country instead of the opinion of Dr Kalam or Mr Shekhawat or whether who supported the pact and who was against it,'' he said.

He was here to take part in a programme organised in the memory of martyrs of the First War of Independence, 1857.

He did not comment on questions related to opposition of the nuclear pact by the RSS or someone else.

Expressing concern over rampant corruption in the country, Mr Shekhawat stressed the need for stricter laws to deal with corruption. Efforts to curb it including setting up Lokayukt bodies in states had not proved much effective, he said.

Referring to conclusions of the recent meeting of Lokayukts in Bangalore, he said it was difficult to curb corruption under present arrangements and stricter laws should be made for dealing with corruption.

On opposition by West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi over cutting power supply for two hours in Raj Bhavan due to power shortage, he described Mr Gandhi's protest as inappropriate, and said that it should be looked upon as an opportunity to save power.

On former West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu describing Mr Gandhi's step as childish, he said he had no information about Mr Basu's statement.

Replying to a question about his return to politics, Mr Shekhawat said it depended upon his wish but his health was also an important factor.

On being asked that a particular faction within the BJP that was against senior leader L K Advani wanted his return, the former Vice-President said he had no information on this matter.

On being asked that it was the intention of BJP president Rajnath Singh, he quipped that Mr Singh had never told him about it.

UNI AS-PS AM RAI1825

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