The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sushma salvo on Pranab

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 1: The UPA’s trouble-shooter, external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, today drew flak from senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, who charged him with contempt of Parliament.

The senior BJP functionary said though the Parliament was in session, Mukherjee, ignoring the protocol, announced outside the House that the nuclear deal had been put on hold.

“When Parliament is in session, no announcement is made unless it is first informed to the House. By setting up a committee to discuss with the Left the Indo-US nuclear deal, the minister has made a mockery of Parliament,” she said here today.

Swaraj said: “We are angry and anguished at the atti- tude of the UPA. The government has totally ignored a recognised political party as well as other opposition parties.”

The senior BJP leader said the UPA has made the Indo-US nuke deal a family affair.

“The deal concerns the entire nation and the UPA cannot make it a family affair by ignoring the Opposition,” Swaraj said.

Taking exception to the nature of the committee formed to scan the details of the nuke deal, Swaraj said the BJP was disallowed to raise the issue in Parliament.

“All opposition political parties have been critical of the nuclear deal. But the government has formed a panel comprising the government’s representatives and the Left parties. We wanted to raise the issue in Parliament but we were not allowed to do so, and Parliament was adjourned till September 5,” she said.

Referring to the demand made by BJP tribal legislators from Orissa seeking due share in the council of ministers, the party functionary said party president Rajnath Singh had taken note of the matter.

The BJP leader said a strange phenomenon was being witnessed in Parliament these days. “The Left parties are not partners but supporters of the government. They are being recognised as an opposition party in the House,” she said.

“In the House, there is a difference of only seven seats between us and the Congress. But the UPA has by default given the Left parties the opposition’s place. In the last elections, the people of the country had mandated us as the Opposition. But somehow or the other the UPA is not giving us that status,” she said.

On the possibility of mid-term polls, Swaraj said it depends on the Left parties. If the Left withdraws support the UPA would have no other alternative but to go for elections, she said.

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