Punjab Cong asks Akalis to support Nuke deal

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Chandigarh, Jul 10 (UNI) The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) today appealed to the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) to support the UPA and help Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tide over the crisis created by the pullout of the Left Front on a deal, which is progressive in nature.

''We urge the Akalis to support the nuke deal, as nuclear energy is the only way out to overcome the power crisis gripping the country, including Punjab,'' PPCC president Rajinder Kaur Bhattal told reporters here.

Reminding the Akalis of their commitment to make Punjab a power surplus state, Mrs Bhattal said this could only be achieved if the state has a nuclear power station.

''The Prime Minister has always been generous to Punjab and has sanctioned a number of developmental projects for the state'', she said while refering to a number of projects that had been cleared for the state during Dr Singh's tenure. Whenever Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal called on Dr Singh, he (Badal) always got something for the state, she added, while referring to the financial aid given to the state during the last one and a half year.

The Akalis should clarify their stand on the nuke deal, she said while refering to the contradictory statements of the SAD leaders on this subject. In this context, she referred to Mr Badal's statement that SAD would oppose the deal and that of Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (MP),the party would make its stand clear after its meeting on July 15.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira had yesterday sought to remind the Akalis that voting against the Prime Minister on the floor of Parliament on the nuke deal 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 had said in a letter written to SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal.

UNI HS PY KN1629

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