Sonia raps Left; says no compromise on national interests

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Nellore, AP, Jul 17 (UNI) In a caustic rebuff to the Left parties for withdrawing support to the UPA Government on the Indo-US nuclear deal, UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi today said there was no question of the country compromising on its national security, nuclear programme and independent foreign policy.

Addressing a huge rally at A C Subba Reddy stadium here, Ms Gandhi said the Congress was accused of compromising the nation's security and national interest by entering into the nuclear deal with the US.

''We don't need any certificate from anybody. There was no question of compromising nation's security, nuclear programme and its independent foreign policy,'' Ms Gandhi declared dwelling at length on the controversial Indo-US nuclear deal which is being opposed by the Left parties, which were supporting the UPA from outside, and the BJP-led NDA.

The Government is to face confidence vote in the special session of the Lok Sabha on July 21 and 22.

Ms Gandhi said it was only Congress which could provide positive agenda for the nation and it was the supreme sacrifices of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi which had taken the country towards self reliance in social, economic and science sectors.

She said Congress did not believe in narrow political interests nor in divisive politics and hatredness and it had a long list of leaders who had given their entire lives for the cause of the country.

The energy demands of the country was huge and only nuclear technology could provide a clean answer without burning fossil fuels. The prices of petroleum in the international market was hovering around 147 US dollar compared to just 35 dollar during the previous NDA regime, she said.

The government had been ''extremely careful'' to protect people especially the farmers from the ill effects of rising costs and inflation, she said adding that it had waived off farm loans worth over Rs 70,000 crore and the 70 lakh farmers of Andhra Pradesh form the biggest chunk of the beneficiaries.

She said while Andhra Pradesh had become the number one state in terms of various things the prestige of the nation stood enhanced in the international community because of its good economic performance.

Ms Gandhi dedicated the first phase of Krishnapatnam Greenfield port near here and laid foundation stone for 1600 MW thermal generation plant named after former Congress president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Damodaram Sanjeevaiah.

Eds: pick up suitably from earlier series.

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