In a scathing personal attack on the prime minister, Opposition leader L K Advani said on Saturday that Manmohan Singh had lost whatever little legitimacy he had in the high office he occupies by doing a U-turn on the India-United States nuclear agreement.
Dr Singh's statement that non-implementation of the nuclear agreement is not the end of life confirmed that he was the weakest Prime Minister India has had, Advani said. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader also sought an explanation from him and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for 'virtually paralysing' the government.
The United Progressive Alliance is at its weakest point now from where the journey can only be downhill for the coalition, claimed Advani. He added that UPA leaders Dr Singh and Gandhi have displayed an extraordinary combination of ineptitude, arrogance, immaturity and lack of conviction
Advani juxtaposed the remarks made by Dr Singh at a summit on Friday with his earlier assertion that the deal was not negotiable. "This is certainly the end of whatever little legitimacy he (Singh) had in the high office he occupies," he said.
BJP has also been opposing the deal, insisting that it will make the country subservient to the US.
"If Dr Singh and Sonia Gandhi have suddenly backtracked, they have done it not out of any principles, but purely due to a rude realisation that going ahead with the deal will sink the government," the former deputy prime minister said.
"The extraordinary combination of ineptitude, arrogance, immaturity and lack of conviction that Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi have displayed in the past three month shows that the thoroughly opportunist alliance, that is the UPA, is unfit to govern India," Advani said.
The party feels that the Congress has developed cold feet over mid-term elections because of pressure from UPA allies like Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Nationalist Congress Party.
Advani said the BJP still views the nuclear agreement as, "a deal between unequals, in which India will have to accept a subservient status vis-a-vis America by surrendering its sovereignty and self-reliance in strategic security matters."
"This agreement amounted to a commitment by India that against the wishes of the US, Indira Gandhi may have done Pokhran I and Vajpayee may have gone in for Pokhran II, but hereafter, there would be no Pokhrans," he remarked.
Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh also came down heavily on Singh's statement, dubbing it a "classic case of chickening out under pressure after calling the opponents of the deal enemies of the nation."
"Who the enemy of the nation now? Or is it that the lure of power is so strong that the Congress has decided to join hands with the nation's enemies and shelve the deal altogether?" asked an editorial in the RSS mouthpiece Organiser. The article added, "The Congress has given in to the Left's blackmail."