M A I N   N E W S

N-deal: Left toughens stand, PM unmoved
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Left parties today warned the UPA government of “serious consequences” if it proceeded to operationalise the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, even though Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has categorically stated that the agreement will not be re-negotiated.

The civilian nuclear cooperation is set to dominate the monsoon session of Parliament with the UNPA and the BJP-led NDA demanding voting on the issue to embarrass the government and the Left favouring “sense of the House” to isolate the Manmohan Singh government on the issue.

“If the government does not concede to concerns expressed by the Left and put on hold the deal, the consequences will be serious,” the newly elected CPI leader from Tamil Nadu to the Rajya Sabha, D. Raja, told newspersons here.

Asked about the repercussions, Raja said, “The Prime Minister knows, you know and we all know what will be the consequences.”

CPI’s Gurudas Dasgupta said, “It is for the government to read the message and not for us to tell it beforehand. We can only tell. If the government does not understand ... We mean what we say.”

He said, “The government enjoys the support of the Left. It is a national tragedy that such a government enters into a strategic pact with imperialist America headed by (George W.) Bush. We cannot stomach such an agreement.”

“The Prime Minister has said that the government will not go back on the deal. We are also saying that we will oppose the agreement inside and outside Parliament tooth and nail,” CPM leader Basudev Acharia said af2ter a meeting of Left parties to decide the strategy in Parliament.

The Prime Minister will make a statement on Monday in Parliament in an attempt to win over skeptics on the accord.

The government must seek the sense of the House and if the majority is against the deal, the agreement should not be operationalised, Acharia said.

The Left leaders, however, said that voting would not be necessary to seek the sense of the house as it would be clear when an overwhelming majority opposes the deal during the debate.

Raja said Parliament must give its approval. “Without Parliament ratification, we do not think the government can carry forward with the deal.

“As no such constitutional provision exists, the Left will demand a constitutional amendment for making it mandatory for the government to get Parliament’s ratification before finalising and signing any international treaty.”

CPI’s C.K. Chandrappan has already moved a private member Bill in this regard.




PM won’t quit: Dasmunsi

New Delhi, August 10
Dispelling reports about the Prime Minister threatening to resign if the Left parties made an issue of the 123 agreement in the Indo-US nuclear deal, parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi today said Manmohan Singh would complete his full term.

“Our Prime Minister will complete his full term. It will be a very successful term. The Prime Minister is firm to deliver as the Prime Minister till the last day,” Dasmunsi told reporters when asked about the government’s reaction to the news reports. Dasmunsi said he could not say anything about the source of these media reports.




Nuke Deal
Tension brews between PM and Left
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Left parties are locked in a war of nerves over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal which has added to the tensions between the two.

Although the government denied media reports that the PM had threatened to resign when he telephoned Left leaders on Tuesday after they rejected the 123 Agreement, UPA sources did not deny that Dr Manmohan Singh was definitely miffed with their hardened position. On his part, the PM has adopted an equally tough stance, telling the Left parties that the 123 Agreement cannot be negotiated afresh.

Senior UPA leaders, who did not wish to be quoted, said the PM was clearly peeved as he had gone out of his way to keep the Left parties informed about the Indo-US nuclear deal and ensured that all their concerns were accommodated in the final text. “All the nine points which the Left leaders had raised have been dealt with satisfactorily. Naturally, the PM has reason to be miffed,” said an embittered UPA leader.

Reports about his threat to resign were, however, dismissed as mere gossip. “I tell you these are only gossip. Our Prime Minister will complete his full term and deliver the promises made in the national common minimum programme,” parliamentary affairs minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi told reporters today.

The UPA leadership is also aware that it will run into further opposition from their Marxist allies when the amendment of the Atomic Energy Act, providing for private participation in setting up of nuclear reactors, comes up in Parliament. Similarly, the enactment of the Civil Nuclear Liability Law, which allows US firms to escape accountability in case of an accident, will also meet with the Left’s approval. India is to enact these legislations under the 123 Agreement.

External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who was scheduled to visit Kyrgyzstan for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet next week, has cancelled his trip in view of the upcoming debate. Mukerhjee, who enjoys a good rapport with the Left leaders, will also be meeting them over the next few days for floor coordination while Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee is to decide the rule under which the debate is to taken up.

The UPA is drawing solace from the fact that the Left parties have sought a debate on this issue under rule 193 which does not require a vote but the Prime Minister is, nevertheless, apprehensive about their strong opposition which will be reflected in their speeches during the debate.

The BJP and the Third Front parties have sought a debate in the Lok Sabha under rule 184 which requires a vote.

“Not only will this expose the fissures in the ruling combine but will be tantamount to a no confidence in the UPA government and the PM personally since he is the architect of this deal,” remarked a senior UPA minister.




UK to help

New Delhi, August 10
Welcoming the conclusion of Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Britain on Friday said it represents a “gain” for non-proliferation regime and promised to help in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

“We warmly welcome the news that the US and India have completed negotiations on their agreement for peaceful nuclear cooperation,” a British Foreign Office statement said.

“We believe that the deal can make a significant contribution to energy security, development, economic and environmental objectives for India and the international community, as well as represent a gain for the non-proliferation regime,” said the statement released through the High Commission here.

The UK, which is a key member of the NSG, said it has strongly supported the initiative from its inception and has been actively involved throughout.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with the US and India, and with partners in the Nuclear Suppliers Group and elsewhere on the detail of this important issue,” said the British statement. — PTI



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