Staff Correspondent

Protests by Left parties "depicted India in bad light before world community"

BJP's stance already known to GovernmentUPA Government attempting to help accused in Godhra fire To continue alliance with SAD

CHANDIGARH: While the Bharatiya Janata Party has welcomed the just-concluded visit by U.S. President George W. Bush, it has reserved its reaction till the "fine print" of the nuclear deal was studied and analysed.

Talking to reporters in Amritsar, former Union Law Minister Arun Jaitley said there was no question of "a studied silence by the BJP" on President Bush's visit to India. He said the BJP welcomed the visit, as it was the party's leader, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his tenure as Prime Minister, who had extended an invitation to him.

Concerns on deterrent

Mr. Jaitley, recently appointed to supervise party matters in Punjab, said: "For the BJP, Indo-American relations had major national importance. But we have had concerns on maintenance of credible minimum nuclear deterrent. The BJP's stance is already known to the Government and the party would definitely give its reaction after it received the copy of the fine print of the N-deal inked by President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."

To respond in Parliament

Mr. Jaitley said Dr. Singh is expected to make a statement in Parliament. Instead of harming national interests through articulating public anguish, the BJP shall come out with a suitable response in Parliament, he added.

Responding to various protests, Mr. Jaitley said the arrogance displayed by the Left parties depicted India in a bad light before the world community. Such demonstrations should have been put on hold till Mr. Bush left the subcontinent, he said.

Banerjee panel report

On the findings of the Justice U.C Banerjee Committee, Mr. Jaitley said the probe panel had no legitimate power, since the Gujarat High Court had already restrained the Government from implementing the report.

Arguing that the matter had to be decided through the judicial system, Mr Jaitley said the court would rely on material evidence and not on the Indian Railways or Justice Banerjee report.

Mr. Jaitley charged the UPA Government with attempting to help the 80 accused when the courts from the Districts Sessions' to the Supreme Court had not granted them bail.

Corruption `rampant'

Commenting on the completion of four years by the Congress Government in Punjab, Mr. Jaitley said the people were disappointed and getting restless due to arrogance of power, while corruption became rampant in most departments.

As it was incumbent on the BJP to provide a credible alternative, he announced that the party would continue its alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal for the coming Assembly polls.