Describing as baseless the latest WikiLeaks claim that his MPs had been bribed ahead of the crucial trust vote in 2008, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RJD) chief Ajit Singh on Thursday said that his party had “openly” voted against the United Progressive Alliance government at that time. “We had opposed the [Indo-U.S.] nuclear deal and after talking to MPs from Opposition parties we had decided to vote against the government,” Mr. Singh told journalists. The RLD chief said that his party was open to an investigation into the issue. He pointed out that against the claims made in the U.S. cables, his party had three MPs in 2008 and not four.
Interestingly, while Mr. Singh on Thursday said his party had made its position clear days before the trust vote, a report dated July 17 — five days before the July 22 trust vote — said that Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan met Mr. Singh at the latter's residence in a bid to persuade him to oppose the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal and vote against the UPA government. After that meeting, the report quoted Mr. Bardhan as saying: “We met today to discuss the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal. While our stand over the deal is clear and known to all, Ajit Singh is yet to take a decision whether to support or oppose the trust vote. I leave it up to him.”
On July 17, the UPA government also announced its decision to rename Lucknow Airport as Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport in honour of Mr. Singh's father.