Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
We have been watching Pranab Mukherjee from Sanjay Gandhi days. So his braggadocios do not astonish us. We are not shocked by sophomoric assertions of the packs of neo Goebbles who have been relentlessly vomiting the Prime Minister’s version that the nuke deal with USA is essential for India’s welfare; because we know their existence in power depends on that. We are perturbed over the very fact that the Prime Minister of India, from now on, shall not be looked at as the highest political leader of the country; but shall be seen as a mere political horse trader. For any citizen who loves democracy it is an ignominy.
In precipitating a political turmoil in the country in order to serve the business interest of foreign nuclear traders who are sure of a “bonanza” out of selling their rotten reactors that are so overrun that unless India purchases them they shall be “dismantled”, (some of them have already been dismantled and the rest are running on temporary fitments certificates), is not at all becoming of a Prime Minister of a country like India. But Prime Minister Singh has played this treachery against the country.
What must be the quantum of gain that Singh and his cohorts in the central ministry have bagged to risk the end of their rule for the nuke deal? Not known. Not fathomable.
But in the deal there is no patriotism.
Had there been an iota of patriotism involved with the deal, the Hyde Act should never have been hidden from the country. Even the text of the 123 agreement should not have been kept wrapped. Indian Government had “promptly approved the agreement on 25 July 2007” even as the contents thereof were not revealed. World Nuclear News noted, “The decision not to reveal the contents of the 30-page agreement has led to press speculation that some political maneuvering remains to be done”. So, Singh made his colleagues like Pranab Mukherjee “approve” the 123 Agreement “promptly” though “some political maneuvering” remained “to be done” even after that “approval”. What was this political maneuvering? This is the language used in “Nuclear Policy” presentation in “World Nuclear News” respected as authority in the matter. How would Mukherjee react to this apprehension even in WNN? Does Mukherjee know anything of this post-approval maneuvering as apprehended? Does anybody in Indian Cabinet know it? Have the citizens of India no right to know it and know its pros and cons?
On the other hand, this particular item in WNN suggests that Singh had made his colleagues sign on dotted lines on the document of approval. Mark the picture of the intro of the item in WNN.
It is datelined 24 July 2007.In the last sentence of the intro it is noted that the “Indian government promptly approved the agreement on 25 July”. A news in an authority publication on nuclear datelined July 24 informs that approval of Indian Government on the agreement that is rated most sensitive in world nuclear scenario has been obtained on July 25 is something that is as queer as revealing of a shadow deal! It clearly reveals that the WNN had the authentic information by 24 July that the secret agreement would be “promptly approved” by Indian Government “on 25 July”.
India, in her democratic life so far had never fallen in the hands of such a Prime Minister and such a set of ministers who can play such nasty tricks on her sovereignty by signing on dotted line to fit into the design of a foreign country.
If the nuke deal is spotlessly pro-Indian, Prime Minister Singh should have placed every aspect of it before the people without any reservation.
I have quoted in my previous write up on this subject from the Nuclear Policy presentations in WNN that the cardinal condition on which the deal was to stand was laid down in the sentence, “Indian Parliament must agree to the text” of the Hyde Act. In view of this stipulation, Prime Minister Singh should have placed the “text” of the Hyde Act before the Parliament of India and told both the Houses that if they “agree to the text”, he may go to sign the deal. If the Parliament would have refused to agree the matter should have ended by informing USA of this. But he never did it. Why?
Because he knows, the Hyde Act being coined with articles to subjugate Indian sovereignty, Indian Parliament would never agree to the text thereof. Moreover, had everything been placed before the Indian Parliament, it could have been revealed that the deal would clamp on India the burden of rotten, old, over lived, run on temporary fitness certificate, most hazardous nuclear reactors that have completed their normal working life of forty years.
As we have earlier shown, “US policy since 1977 has been to forbid reprocessing of used fuel and to treat it all as high-level waste which the government is responsible for finally disposing of in a deep geological repository. Utilities have paid over $18 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund for this mostly through a 0.1 cent/kWh levy towards final disposal, so that by mid 2007 it stood at almost $30 billion, including interest. The fund is growing by some $1 billion per year, including interest.
“It is the responsibility of utilities to store this used fuel on site until it is taken over by the federal Department of Energy for final disposal in a geological repository. Such a repository is not yet available and the DoE defaulted on its 1998 deadline to start accepting used fuel, which has put pressure on storage space at some power plants”.
US want to be released of this pressure.
Against this background, Singh’s deal seems dubious.
But most shameful is his attempts to stay in power through political horse-trading. After withdrawal of leftists’ support, he has lost all his legitimacy to continue as Prime Minister; because, he had been able to become the Prime Minister on the basis of leftists support.
If he thinks, the nuke deal is most beneficial to the people of India and peoples of India are one with him in this deal, but the leftists are unnecessarily opposing it, he should have preferred a fresh mandate on this issue. But he has no courage for that. He knows, people will dismiss him and refuse him and Congress the mandate for the deal with USA. Therefore he wants to survive by horse-trading.
The Samajvadi party has officially declared its willingness to support the Singh government in this issue. So, there was no necessity of contacting individual members of this party for cultivating support. But, this afternoon, the way Raj Babbar was invited to meet the Congress boss and the way he declared his willingness to support the government in the moment of its crisis, makes it clear that individual members are being contacted to cultivate support over and above his or their party organization.
Singh may claim and the persons who pledge him support may also claim that there is no clandestine deal amongst them. But people will no more believe. Singh henceforth shall be looked at not as a political leader, but as a political trader.
It would be very painful to lovers of democracy. The harbinger of plutocracy in India and his cohorts cannot understand this pain.
If amongst the Members of Loksabha, the ones who had remained politically opponent to Prime Minister Singh till withdrawal of left support, dedication to democracy does not give way to personal avarice, the pain portended may not hit the people.
Otherwise they will have to tolerate it till they reject the Congress and avenge the ignominy.
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