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Defensive BJP criticises PM

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: September 14, 2005 12:41 IST
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The Bhartiya Janata Party has strongly criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement that while Parliament backed him on the nuclear agreement between India and United States, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was against it. "I was surprised by his criticism," Dr Singh is reported to have told United States President George W Bush, during his half-hour meeting.

Speaking to, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, BJP parliamentary spokesman, said that the statement of the prime minister was unfortunate.

"It is surprising and shocking that Dr Singh should have referred to Vajpayee's statement during his meeting with President Bush. There was no need for doing so," Malhotra said.

He also disputed Dr Singh's claim that Parliament was behind him on the issue. "The matter was never put to vote or Dr Singh would have known how many are in favour and how many against it. That would have made the Congress realize where they stand. The allies of the government also openly criticised the agreement but they did not speak against it in the House," he added.

Former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha was also quick to defend Vajpayee on Dr Singh's statement. "Internal differences are not to be carried abroad. But, unfortunately, he seems to have done it," Sinha told a private television network.

Congress leader and noted lawyer Abhishek Singvi jumped to the defence of Dr Singh, saying that the BJP was a frustrated party and hence they were criticising Dr Singh to divert attention from their internal differences.

More coverage: Prime Minister at the UN

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi