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SP counsels against hyping US President's visit

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) The Samajwadi Party today argued against extending a red carpet welcome to US President George W Bush when he begins his three-day official visit to India next month, saying it was not proper for the country to accord a grand welcome to a person ''condemned'' by Parliament.

Participating in the the debate on the Motion of Thanks for President's address in the Rajya Sabha, Samajwadi Party leader Janeshwar Mishra, who spoke sitting from his seat for health reasons, reminded the House that Parliament had unanimously condemned Mr Bush's aggression in Iraq and the government should think it over before deciding whether it should accord a grand welcome to him.

He said Parliament proceedings were stuck for three days on the issue of whether India should ''condemn'' or ''deplore'' the US invasion of Iraq. The previous NDA government had adopted an ambiguous stance where it allowed the word ''ninda'' in the resolution in Hindi while ''deploring'' the US act in the English version adopted by Parliament.

The US people are wise enough to see through India's ''diplomatic game'' in attempting to soft pedal the resolution's intensity by substituting a milder word. Mr Bush was still a condemned person (nindit vyakti) and the nation should be careful before disregarding the resolution adopted in Parliament, he counselled.

Referring to President A P J Abdul Kalam's remarks expressing hope that the friendship and relations between the India and the US would improve, Mr Mishra, an acclaimed socialist leader, said while he regarded Dr Kalam as one of the best scientific brains, it was not possible to digest his statement that there could be friendship between ''two unequals''.

Even the villagers know that any friendship between unequals would result in the poor losing his land and such a relationship is shunned as ''inauspicious''. The same logic would hold true for relationship between the two countries, he said.

There was trouble in the House when Mr Mishra urged the ruling Congress not to accord a larger than life image for its leader (party president Sonia Gandhi) and eulogise and elevate her to the level of a ''goddess'' because of the party's helplessness in electing a leader who brought in the votes.

When these people can't accept responsibility they will palm it off on some other people. Such a trend is not healthy for democracy, he said.

There were protests from Mr B Janaradhana Poojari which were countered by SP members with equal vehemence, resulting in the Chair's intervention. The words used by a TDP member were expunged by the Chair.

The veteran leader reminded the Congress that the SP was lending its support to the UPA despite the Congress' reluctance to accept it.

''We are supporters of the government and the ruling party should have the patience to bear an occasional elbow jostling from a friendly party. You are tolerating violent pushes from the Left parties...,'' Mr Mishra said raising a roar of laughter in the House.

UNI MCN LR BD1417

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