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Natwar Singh mobilising parties against the nuclear deal between India and U.S.

Sunday 6 August 2006

He is meeting SP, CPI (M) and BJP leaders today

Dinner meeting with Amar Singh, Digvijay Singh on Friday Congress action against Natwar likely after report is presented in Parliament Congress core group meets

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V.V. Krishnan
Natwar Singh coming out of Parliament on Friday after it was adjourned due to the Pathak report leak.

New Delhi: Apparently isolated in the Congress in the wake of the Pathak Authority findings on the Iraqi oil-for-food scam, the former External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh appears mobilising political parties opposed to the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

Mr. Natwar Singh had a dinner meeting with Samajwadi Party and Janata Dal (United) leaders Amar Singh and Digvijay Singh on Friday. He is slated to meet SP, CPI (M) and BJP leaders at his residence here on Sunday to fine-tune their opposition to the U.S. legislation to implement the deal.

The meeting is likely to discuss the resolution these parties want Parliament to adopt to reflect the "sense of the House" against various provisions of the U.S. law which, they claim, will go against India’s interests.

After the Pathak report and the Action Taken Report are presented in Parliament, the Congress may consider the course of action against Mr. Natwar Singh, who lost his ministership at the Centre in December last after having been named a non-contractual beneficiary in the Volcker Committee Report on the scam.

Mr. Amar Singh told reporters that Sunday’s meeting would finalise a plan to check the U.S. "strategy" to subject India’s nuclear programme to its "designs." "What is happening to Natwar Singh is on account of American conspiracy," he said.

The former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, Mr. Digvijay Singh and CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury would attend Sunday’s meeting.

"It is not party politics we will discuss. Sinha and Digvijay were Ministers in charge of External Affairs and we will be discussing the nuclear deal," he said.

Meanwhile, the Congress Core Group including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi met on Saturday to discuss the political fallout of the Pathak report and also a strategy to be adopted on the nuclear deal issue.

Mr. Natwar Singh’s position in the Congress appeared to be becoming increasingly untenable with a section saying that he could be helping in the formation of an anti-Congress third front by "hobnobbing" with parties such as the SP which are bitter about Ms. Gandhi. - PTI

See online : The Hindu

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