PM asks BJP, Left to look objectively at Nuke deal

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On Board Prime Minister's Special Aircraft, Oct 1 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asked the BJP and the Left Parties to look ''objectively''at the civilian nuclear deal with the United States and said he woud like all friendly and like-minded people to pool their knowledge and experience.

He was asked whether there was any possibility of the Left re-joining the coalition.

Speaking to reporters on board Air India One while returning from a two-nation visit to the US and France, the Prime Minister said India is on the verge of great opportunities and the challenge is not so much from external forces but from domestic politics.

''I would like all friendly, like-minded, segments of the population to work together to resolve all major problems,--social, political and economic...I would like all political parties to pool their wisdom, knowledge and experience to deal collectively with all national problems--that applies to the Left, that applies to the BJP--that applies to everyone,'' the Prime Minister said.

Asserting that there are compulsions of managing a coalition which often puts a constraint, Dr Singh said the charge against the Congress is that it is not good at managing coalitions.

''I wanted to prove that statement wrong and I think we have nearly succeeded. We have given this country a purposeful government, a government which by and large has the support and respect of all the constituents of our coalition.'' He said he felt ''very sad' when Left Parties left the coalition, but had not given up hope to carry conviction with them that the government had done the nuclear deal to protect all national interests.

''It protects our strategic programme, it opens up new options for India to manage its energy situation and it is part of our policy which would widen our development options. So I sincerely believe that whether it is the BJP or the Left- if they look objectively there is nothing in the nuclear deal which will hurt the interests of the country,'' the Prime Minister said .

To a question on whether he would be the Prime Ministerial candidate again, Dr Singh said it was too early to talk in terms of a potential Prime Ministerial candidate . ''The Congress party has several leaders who are equally or better qualified than I am. I have not applied my mind to that sort of question,''Dr Singh added.

The Prime Minister declined comment on the civilian nuclear deal with the US saying he would like to see the final outcome of the process that is underway in the US Congress.

Asked whether it would have any impact on the elections in India, he said he believed that if India's concerns were addressed properly, the nuclear initiative would help India to move to move forward to manage its energy situation in a manner that is consistent with national goals of combating climate change through developing clean sources of energy.

UNI RB RP PM1700

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