Mani Shankar Aiyar rubbishes WikiLeaks expose

The former union minister noted that the US was happy that he was removed.

Lucknow: Former Union Minister Mani
Shankar Aiyar on Monday rubbished Wikileaks expose that he was
replaced by Murli Deora as Petroleum Minister in 2006 under US
pressure.

He, however noted that the US was happy that he was removed.

"It is rubbish that petroleum portfolio was taken from
me as the US was unhappy," Aiyar told reporters here in a
reply to a question on Wikileaks reports.
He said that during UPA-I he was given additional and "temporary" charge of Petroleum Ministry along with Panchayati
Raj.

"It was my luck that the temporary charge lasted for
20 months as the first cabinet reshuffle happened after that
and as petroleum minister I did an outstanding job," he said.
Aiyar said that the Iran-Pak-India pipeline project
plan chalked out during his stint as the minister was against
the US strategy.

"The plan, which was part of a larger vision, was
crucial from the fuel safety and economy of the country," he
said.

He said that the US, which had imposed sanction
against Iran, was against the project as it had benefited the
country financially.

"In fact I proposed to extend the pipeline to China so
that Pakistan does not play any dirty trick. The plan had go
ahead approval from all concerned including the Prime Minister
to start negotiations," he said.

The former minister said that a section in the US may
be happy from his ouster from the petroleum ministry.

"US were happy that I was removed. It was no so that I
was removed as US was unhappy therefore I was removed," he
said.

"It was no so that the PM went to the US diplomat to
ask that who should be appointed as the minister," he added.

On Wikileaks, he said that if cable can lie about
Jaitley, then it can also lie about Nachiketa Kapur, who is
described as a political aide.

CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat had yesterday
said the Left, which provided outside support to the UPA-I,
was aware that Mani Shankar Aiyar was shifted out of the
Petroleum Ministry in 2006 as he was pursuing energy policy
which the Americans did not like.

Aiyar, who was here to attend the meeting of
Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Raj organisation as its national
coordinator, alleged that Uttar Pradesh was most backward in
panchayati raj.

"A lot of progress has been made in others states, but
unfortunately UP is miserably lagging behind. The state has to
be taken forward in the interest of the people," he said.

He said that the state has a very good law, set of
rules and information, only the will power was lacking.

"Our intention is to associate more and more people
ahead of the state Assembly election to win the polls, but the
larger objective is to strengthen the panchayati raj in the
state," he said.

The former minister said that all centrally sponsored
schemes should be stopped and finance, function and
functionaries should be handed over to the panchayats to
strengthen the system.

PTI

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