Opposition has legitimate right to seek clarifications
Ajay Singh | March 5, 2010
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's repeated intervention to LK Advani's contestation on the motion of thanks is rather unprecedented. Though Singh's new-found belligerence vis-a-vis Advani has much to do with the muscles he acquired after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and diminished stature of the BJP
stalwart, his interventions singularly lacked merit.
In fact, Mamohan Singh can be accused of selective political amnesia when he referred to Jaswant Singh-Strobe Talbott talks during the NDA regime. True, Jaswant Singh engaged Talbott in negotiations which remained secret till Talbott himself chose to write about them in his book. But Jaswant Singh then was
neither foreign minister nor any functionary in the government. He was simply an interlocutor of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. His
negotiations with Talbott followed the Pokhran II which rattled the US and Europe no end. No doubt, the Congress, then in opposition, demanded that
the secrecy shrouding the talks be unveiled. In Rajya Sabha Manmohan Singh in his role as leader of the Opposition had attacked the government for
conducting the nuclear tests leading to imposition of economic sanctions.
Obviously, the opposition has a legitimate right to seek clarification from the government if the issue pertains to the national importance. If Manmohan
Singh had a legitimate right in criticising the NDA on Pokhran, so has Advani in seeking clarification on the government's shifting stances on
Pakistan. That the joint statement between India and Pakistan at Sharm-al-Sheikh caused more embarrassement in the Congress than in the BJP is
evident by the manner the Congress leadership distanced itself from it.
Similarly, Shashi Tharoor's advocacy of Saudi Arabia as interlocutor in the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is a clear departure from the country's usual position. There is nothing wrong in thinking out of box on crucial issues. But all these details must be shared with parliament which is supposed to be repository of people's faith.
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