Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Leader of the Opposition, L.K. Advani, described here on Wednesday the United Progressive Alliance-Left committee to discuss issues related to the nuclear deal as “parochial … partisan … and private” while he insisted that any clarifications or assurances on the deal must be given through Parliament or its committee.

Putting forward the National Democratic Alliance demand for a joint parliamentary committee on the deal, he said that the NDA would also talk to like-minded other Opposition parties on this issue.

Mr. Advani admitted that in the Indian parliamentary system, as in the British, the government was empowered to take decisions on bilateral agreements. He even suggested the BJP and the NDA had reconciled themselves to not getting a JPC on the deal after the government had firmly rejected the idea on the ground that never before had a JPC been set up on a similar issue. But the setting up of a UPA-Left committee had changed this. “The setting up of a private committee is a total negation of the Opposition’s rights and role in Parliament.”

His charge was that through the nuclear agreement India would “indirectly” be drawn into the non-proliferation regime, which it had always criticised as unequal and discriminatory. In the name of energy security the Prime Minister was jeopardising national security, he added.

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