`Internal contradictions sway UPA foreign policy`

Arun Jaitley has slammed the government for deferment in sealing the Teesta water-sharing pact with Bangladesh.

Mumbai: Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley, on Saturday said deferment in sealing the Teesta water-sharing pact with Bangladesh showed the UPA government`s foreign policy is influenced by "internal contradictions".

Addressing a meeting of BJP workers here, Jaitley pointed out that one of the main objectives of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Bangladesh was the Teesta river pact.

"The intention was good. But due to objections of a coalition partner (Trinamool Congress), (signing of) the pact was deferred. This is perhaps for the first time that foreign policy was seen as being influenced by internal contradictions," Jaitley said.

The deal on Teesta river, which originates in Sikkim and flows to northern part of West Bengal before entering Bangladesh, was high on the agenda of Prime Minister`s two-day visit to Dhaka. However, following West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s reservations on the pact, it could not be inked.

Jaitley also criticised the UPA government for rising inflation and corruption, calling it "non-performing and completely paralysed as far as decision-making was concerned".

"Corruption is on the rise. Inflation has been very high over the last three years and government appears to have run out of ideas to deal with the situation. It is only increasing the interest rates," Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said the Vajpayee-led NDA government had focussed on infrastructure development by constructing roads in rural parts, highways, power and telecom sector.

"However, these success stories were converted into scandals in the UPA regime," he said.

"Nowhere in the world exists a situation like that in India where the political authority lies with someone who is not the Prime Minister. A Prime Minister must always be the natural leader of the country and the party in power. The PM
cannot be a person whose writ does not run either in the government or in the party. The depleted authority of the Prime Minister renders the leader of the government helpless," the BJP leader said.

Jaitley said "even though BJP expects the next Lok Sabha elections to be held in 2014, the non-performing UPA government may collapse under its own contradictions."

Stating that although BJP has emerged as a powerful alternative to Congress, he said a two-party system is ruled out in the present political scenario.

"But there will be coalitions led by Congress and BJP. The Congress-led coalition is in a disarray. The challenge before BJP is to expand NDA," Jaitley said.


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