Set parameters for ratifying treaties: BJP

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday demanded that the Union government pass a law that would set parameters for ratifying treaties such as the India-U.S. nuclear deal.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, the former BJP president, Murli Manohar Joshi, said the law should lay down conditions and procedures for signing the treaties which had influence on areas such as foreign policy, defence, economy and energy.

Noting that several countries had such laws, Dr. Joshi said even if the United Progressive Alliance government won a vote of confidence in Parliament, this would not give a “democratic right” to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bind the entire country for 40 years, the period of validity mentioned in the nuclear deal.

He wondered how such a deal could be allowed without having any popular support or Parliament ratification. He had already tabled a private member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha in this regard.

Urging President Pratibha Patil to ask Dr. Singh to seek a vote of confidence immediately, the BJP leader said the chances of early elections could not be ruled out.

Asked whether his party and the Left would come together in opposing the deal in the event of the government going ahead, he said the reasons for the BJP’s opposition were not the same as those of the Left.

On the contention in certain quarters that the deal was “anti-Muslim,” Dr. Joshi ridiculed it and said if the deal was good or bad for the country, it would be so for people of any religion.

Dr. Joshi criticised the Union government for its “complete ignorance” of the designs of separatists and terrorists in Kashmir. He asked how any demographic change could occur through temporary shelter arrangements for Amarnath pilgrims.

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