Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: It is not just the remark about “headless chicken[s]” made by India’s Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) finds objectionable, but the entire interview that he gave to Rediff India Abroad news website.

Party leader Sushma Swaraj said the party found all the views expressed by Mr. Sen — about the drama being played out in New Delhi for example, and his praise for U.S. President George Bush — not proper as she saw it as a comment on the proposed debate on the nuclear deal in Parliament and the objections to the agreement spelt out by various parties, including the Left and the BJP. “He [Mr. Sen] is a civil servant. He cannot have this liberty,” she said.


The party was particularly perturbed by his comment that the former External Affairs Minister and Rajya Sabha MP, Yashwant Sinha, reacted adversely to the deal even before he read the text.

Ms. Swaraj emphasised that the journalist who had done the interview stood by his report.

When it was pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also praised Mr. Bush, Ms. Swaraj said that one head of government praising another was “different” from an Indian envoy heaping praises on the head of a foreign state.

The party chose not to react to the reference made by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi to the BJP’s unapologetic attitude to the remarks made by National Democratic Alliance (NDA) convenor George Fernandes against the Prime Minister.

Ms. Swaraj earlier pointed that the BJP was not apologetic about Mr. Fernandes’ remark in connection with Dr. Singh’s handling of the nuclear deal … that in China, the matter would have been settled with a “bullet in the head [of the Prime Minister].”

Sethusamudram project

Party leader V.K. Malhotra registered the BJP’s objection to reported plans to go ahead with the Sethusamudram project by blasting the undersea rocks called the Ram Setu.

Mr. Malhotra admitted that the NDA too had the project on its manifesto, “but we wanted to implement it without destroying the Setu.”