Home India Politics Obama speech impresses MPs, Left unimpressed

Obama speech impresses MPs, Left unimpressed


New Delhi: Barring those from the Left parties, most Indian MPs Monday hailed US President Barack Obama’s speech to parliamentarians during which he backed India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

The ruling Congress and main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appeared satisfied with Obama’s 45-minute long speech in the Central Hall of parliament.

Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani said: “In today’s speech, Obama has met with the expectations of the Indian people” and lauded the US president’s references to Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda, B.R. Ambedkar and Rabindranath Tagore in his address.”

“What we expected from the leader of the powerful democracy in the world, Obama has measured up to the expectations in his address,” Advani said.

The Congress termed as “very satisfying” Obama’s address in which he also referred to terrorist activities on Pakistani soil and spoke of India’s arrival on the international stage and as a global power.

“The speech was very satisfying from India’s point of view,” Congress spokesperson Shakeel Ahmed told IANS.

“It is the first time that any US president has in principle publicly supported India’s case for a seat in the Security Council.”

BJP leader and former external affairs minister Jaswant Singh hailed Obama’s support for India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UNSC.

“It was a powerful endorsement. It is very welcome. Very eloquently put,” he said.

But the Left parties were unimpressed, and described the speech as “disappointing” and “ambiguous”.

“We are indeed disappointed. The speech is very ambiguous,” Basudeb Acharia, Communist Part of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader in the Lok Sabha, told IANS.

Acharia said the US support “to our cause, particularly to the UN permanent seat, is not clear”.

CPI-M politburo member Sitaram Yechury said though Obama spoke on a range of issues “but there is nothing tangible”.

Communist Party of India (CPI) national secretary D. Raja said the US president in his address to Indian parliamentarians was “pursuing the known US positions and protecting the interests of his country”.

The CPI also downplayed the US support for India’s permanent candidature to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). “It is India’s right to be a permanent member of the UN. India, a great nation, will be member of the UN for two years. Why are we playing up what Obama said,” CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told IANS.

Dasgupta was critical of the US for overlooking the state of “poverty in the world because of the US policies”.

“I am not too impressed (with the speech),” he added.

MPs belonging to regional parties also welcomed Obama’s address.

AIADMK Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan said: “Obama’s historic speech was great to the ears, but one has to wait to see how it is translated into action”.

E.T. Muhammed Basheer, leader of the two-member Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in the Lok Sabha, said: “Obama spoke from his heart, not merely from a script, usually prepared by someone else. The biggest thing is that Obama, the leader of the richest nation, has discovered greater values of India and its spiritual values.

Mohammed Shafi, leader of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference in the Rajya Sabha, said the speech was “a balanced one”. “While Obama said lot of things in favour of India, he was keen to bag lot of jobs for US companies, for gaining support back at home.”

Jose K. Mani, leader of the Kerala Congress-M in the Lok Sabha, said the speech was one of a “new leader of the US connecting with the new generation of India”.