Now, BJP hit by WikiLeaks disclosures

Party criticised US to score points over UPA on nuclear agreement

Now, BJP hit by WikiLeaks disclosures

The BJP, however, denied that there was any doublespeak and maintained that because of its strong position, the government had to come with 16 amendments to the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill.

Citing the WikiLeaks expose, the Congress which was till Friday at the receiving end, asked the BJP to adopt the same standards it applied for the government when it was needlessly disrupting Parliament for the last few days.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari would not buy the BJP’s defence. He said: “For the BJP, chickens have come home to roost and they have come rather soon.”

He said the BJP had made WikiLeaks “the Holy Grail of their political philosophy” even when the Congress had warned them not to give credence to hearsay.

The US cable quotes US Embassy Charge d’affaires Peter Burleigh after his meeting with top BJP leader L K Advani on May 13, 2009, as saying when in power BJP will behave very differently from it’s days in opposition. The US official was referring to the BJP’s stand on the Indo-Civil Nuclear Agreement which was being  publicly opposed by the BJP.

“Government is a continuity”, particularly in matters of foreign policy. International agreements “cannot be taken lightly”, the cable quoted Advani as saying. The BJP leader, the diplomat wrote, was clear that there would be “no imminent BJP move to reopen the (nuclear) deal.”

In another instance, a December 28, 2005, cable sent by Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Blake says “in a private conversation on December 28, BJP National Executive Member Seshadiri Chari urged us ‘not to read too much into the foreign policy resolution, especially the parts relating to the US’. Chari dismissed the BJP statement as “standard practice” aimed at scoring easy political points against the UPA.

“Chari dismissed the statement (resolution) as standard practice aimed at scoring easy political points against the UPA. BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar echoed these statements, saying that the BJP was not really upset about the US-India relationship, but merely wanted the Government of India and US government to be more forthcoming about any deal on nuclear policy,” the cable said.

Asked about the diplomatic cables quoting him, Chari declined to comment saying he has not seen the report. He said he did not remember if he had talked to Deputy Chief of Mission Robert Blake in December 2005.

Javadekar said there are “no contradictions” in their stand. “We have made our position clear both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha and through our press statements that we value strategic relations with the US and that all sources of energy should be tapped,” he said.

But, he said, when the government brought the Nuclear Liability Bill, the party raised certain objections and the government had to make 16 amendments to the Bill at its insistence. “We keep national interest foremost...there is no doublespeak,” Javadekar said.

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