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Indo-US Nuclear Tango
Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh on Friday made it clear that they favoured the Indo-US nuclear deal as they met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] and Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] over the issue.
After their 30-minute meeting with the Dr Singh, Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh appeared convinced that the nuclear deal is in the interest of the country and said they would try to convince other United National Progressive Alliance constituents on the issue.
The party, whose 39 MPs in Lok Sabha would be crucial for survival of the government if the Left parties withdraw support, is likely to announce its decision on supporting the UPA in a couple of days.
The SP leaders said former president A P J Abdul Kalam had on Thursday elaborately explained to them the benefits of the deal and allayed fears about the national sovereignty or foreign policy being compromised.
"We have been opposing it (nuclear deal) as we did not have any new details. But now these new details have come," Mulayam Singh told reporters.
"We have not committed anything so far. We have shared our perception, which we gained through Kalam, with the prime minister," Amar Singh said, adding the same perception would be shared with other UNPA constituents.
Asked whether SP would be able to bring around other UNPA constituents to its position, Mulayam Singh sounded hopeful.
On SP's opposition to the deal in Parliament as well as outside, Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh suggested that the party was not aware of the full details of the agreement as "there were no formal or informal talks with anyone (in the government) on this issue. Nobody in the government talked to us."
Amar Singh said the SP had formed its position on the nuclear deal on the basis of details given by Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Prakash Karat and newspaper reports.
Mulayam Singh said the "new details" that the party was looking for had come from the Prime Minister and the national security advisor.
Referring to the clarification given by Kalam, Amar Singh said the former president had emphasised that there was "no question of national security being compromised" by the deal.
Kalam also said that the nuclear deal will be useful for medicine and agriculture besides being clean source of power, Amar Singh said.
The former president also cleared doubts over the cost of nuclear energy in the backdrop of fears that it would be expensive as compared to hydro-power, Amar Singh said.
Kalam also counselled the SP leaders that the nuclear deal should not be bogged down in "narrow sectarian" policies, he said.
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