Nuke deal: Cong MLA reminds Akalis that PM is a Sikh

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Chandigarh, Jul 9 (UNI) Urging the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), a constituent of the NDA to support the UPA-government on the nuclear deal, Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira today sought to remind the Akalis that voting against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of Parliament would mean defeating ''an able Sikh with an unblemished character and impeccable integrity''.

''The SAD has been in the forefront to espouse the cause of the Sikh community and claims to be the representative of the Sikhs across the globe. Any move to oppose Dr Singh would belie all such claims'', Mr Khaira said in a letter written to SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal today.

He urged the SAD to support the UPA and help Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tide over the crisis created by the pull out of the Left Front on a deal which is progressive in nature.

Mr Khaira, in his letter, claimed that Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal had issued a public statement sometime back supporting the use of nuclear power as the best source of energy suitable to the country. Punjab presently produces around 6000 MW of electricity, whereas the demand is exactly the double, 12000 MW, the letter pointed out.

The proposal of the SAD-BJP government to produce the deficit electricity through thermal power would not only cost the state four times more, but being coal-based, it only added up to global warming and pollutes the environment. Moreover coal shortage had always been a headache for this source of energy, the letter stated.

''Dr Singh has the rarest of rare distinctions of being the first Sikh to hold the office of Prime Minister, a status your party, Shiromani Akali Dal, has been espousing, championing and aspiring to achieve for the Sikh community,'' the letter said, while reminding the SAD chief that in a similar political situation, the Akali Dal had voted in favour of Giani Zail Singh for the office of President of India, despite the fact that the Akalis were politically opposed to the Congress.

Mr Khaira, in his letter, also pointed out that the Shiv Sena preferred to vote for Pratibha Patil, a Congress nominee, to the office of President last year on the grounds that she belonged to Maharashtra.

''I also know that your heart lies with the arguments put forward but your long association with the BJP is holding you back on this vital issue,'' the letter said, while reminding the Akalis of issue-based politics.

''Blind support to the BJP on such a vital issue would only reinforce the oft repeated charge of supporting a communal party having zero tolerance for the minorities,'' the letter stated.

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