Now Wikileaks blows BJP's whistle

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WikiLeaks
New Delhi, Mar 19: BJP was today engulfed by Wikileaks expose with US diplomatic cables stating that the party leadership had told them that its criticism of the US in public was to score "easy political points" against UPA and when in power, it would not harm the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The expose, published by The Hindu, drew immediate strong reaction from ruling Congress which asked BJP to apply to itself the same standards it adopted for the government when it was needlessly disrupting Parliament for the last few days.

The BJP, however, denied there was any doublespeak and maintained that because of its strong position, the government had to come with 16 amendments to the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill.

Seshadri Chari, BJP National Executive member and RSS pointsman in the party figured in the diplomatic cables as having told an US embassy official in Delhi in Dec 2005 not to read too much into the foreign policy resolution especially the parts relating to the US, which had attacked the UPA's "subservience" to Washington.

"Chari dismissed the statement (resolution) as standard practice aimed at scoring easy political points against the UPA. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar echoed these statements, saying that the BJP was not really upset about the US-India relationship, but merely wanted the Government of India and US government to be more forthcoming about any deal on nuclear policy," the cable said.

In another cable, the embassy's then Charge d'affaires Peter Burleigh wrote after a meeting with LK Advani in May 2009, just before the Lok Sabha poll results were out, the BJP veteran downplayed any move by his party to reopen the nuclear deal noting that BJP does not take international agreements lightly.

Advani acknowledged that the BJP's public position in Jul 2008 was that the deal constrained the country's strategic autonomy and that the party would reexamine if it returned to power but connected that stance to domestic political developments then at play in India.

The BJP leader, the diplomat wrote, was clear that there would be no imminent BJP move to reopen the (nuclear) deal. In his view, the government is a continuity, particularly in matters of foreign policy and international agreements cannot be taken lightly.

Asked about the diplomatic cables quoting him, Chari declined to comment saying he has not seen the report. He said he did not remember if he had talked to Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Blake in Dec 2005.

"I don't remember the name. I don't remember the names. I don't remember whom I met in 2005," Chari said, adding the party will officially comment if required.

PTI

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