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I was removed under US pressure: Natwar

Source: PTI
February 06, 2007 18:12 IST
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Suspended Congress leader and former external affairs minister Natwar Singh on Tuesday alleged that he was removed from his post under US pressure and hinted at joining the Samajwadi party.

Speaking at a seminar on 'India's foreign policy and Iraq' organised by the Samajwadi Party-backed Ram Manohar Lohia trust in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, Singh claimed he was thrown out under 'US pressure' as he had opposed the invasion of Iraq.

"It was a conspiracy of US in which Congress and the media were also involved," he alleged.

Showering praise on the Samajwadi Party, Singh said it was a secular party, which was a 'big thing.'

"I was offered a Lok Sabha ticket by Mulayam way back, but I had declined the offer saying that I will have to leave him (Mulayam) if Sonia Gandhi enters politics," he said.

When the audience, comprising SP leaders including ministers said there was a vacancy in the upper house from the state, which could be offered to him, Singh looked expectantly at Yadav, who said he favoured the idea.

Launching a veiled attack on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he said, "Only those who are born in the country could understand religion, knowledge, prayer, charity, which are the hallmark of our culture."

Singh also rubbished the Volcker Committee and Pathak Committee reports and claimed that neither he nor his son received any kickbacks in the Iraqi oil pay-offs. The former external affairs minister said he expected the Congress leadership to expel him by Tuesday evening for sharing a platform with SP, but made it clear that he will not resign to enable the Congress to be richer by a Rajya Sabha seat.

Criticising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for their alleged silence on the hanging of Saddam Hussein, Natwar Singh said, "Barring me, Mulayam and Jyoti Basu, no one spoke against his hanging."

"Over 17 crore Muslims live in this country and the leadership did not say anything on this count," he said.

On the Volcker committee report, he said his name was not there initially but was included later in order to save the skin of the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. While the other countries threw the report to the dust bin, our government chose to act on it, as 'its aim was to harass me,' he alleged.

"Even the Pathak committee report gave me a clean chit. Yet, instead of welcoming it the Congress high command chose to issue me a notice," he said.

Singh also claimed that Justice R S Pathak had approached him for being nominated to the International Court of Justice.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, speaking on the occasion, said no one will be allowed to ruin Natwar's political career.

"We know that you have been cheatedÂ… It has been the tradition of the Nehru-Gandhi family to ruin people in this fashion whether it was T T Krishnmachari or Krishna Menon," Yadav said.

He said SP wanted to reap the benefits of Natwar Singh's vast experience since 1996 but it could not materialise.

"Now the moment has come in a natural way...You (Natwar) will not find a better party than SP," Yadav said.
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