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SP favours nuclear deal

Special Correspondent

But no commitment on support yet

NEW DELHI: Satisfied with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s clarification on the nuclear deal with the United States, the Samajwadi Party on Friday said it now favoured the 123 Agreement but stopped short of announcing its support to the government.

On its part, the Congress “thanked” SP leaders Mulayam Singh and Amar Singh shortly after the two separately met Dr. Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

“We thank Mr. Mulayam Singh and Mr. Amar Singh for supporting the nuclear deal in national interest,” Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said. The two leaders conveyed their support to the Congress leadership.

Talking to journalists after meeting the Prime Minister, the SP leaders said they changed their position on the deal in view of the new facts presented by the government.

Asked whether they would support the UPA, Mr. Amar Singh said: “We have not committed anything so far.” Mr. Mulayam Singh said: “We will meet in the evening and discuss with others in the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA).”

On the change in their stand on the deal after opposing it both inside and outside Parliament, Mr. Mulayam Singh said: “We have always maintained that we would reconsider our position if new facts are brought to light.”

No one in the government had briefed the SP on the deal. Their opposition to the 123 Agreement was based on details provided by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and newspaper reports, the two leaders said.

Referring to the meeting with National Security Adviser M. K. Narayanan on Wednesday, Mr. Amar Singh said though he was given a point-by-point reply to all his queries, “I said this will not suffice and asked for a public clarification from the Prime Minister. The point-by-point reply from the Prime Minister was quite satisfactory.”

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