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N-deal: Left unmoved
PM to brief Parliament today

Thiruvananthapuram, August 12
Asserting there was no going back on the Left’s opposition to the Indo-US nuclear deal in spite of its support to the UPA government, the CPM today said the onus of running the coalition was on the Congress.

This, just a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh makes a statement on the issue in both Houses of Parliament.

“You should ask the Congress whether you want to run the government,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters when asked about the possible fallout of the Left-UPA stand-off on the issue.

“We are all aware that the Prime Minister is very sensitive on the government’s relations with the US. But this is not a matter of sensitivity alone. This is an issue of serious import,” he said about Manmohan Singh’s challenge to the Left to withdraw support to his government.

The UPA should consider the fact that it is running the government with the support of the Left, Karat said, adding the common minimum programme (CMP) of the ruling alliance did not say a word about the strategic alliance with the US. “It is the responsibility of the Congress to see that the government does not take any policy that contradicted with the CMP,” he said.

Any discussion or debate in Parliament would show that the government did not have a majority in support of the nuclear deal and the government should heed that message of Parliament, he said.

“Any debate or discussion in Parliament would show that the government is not in majority in Parliament,” he said.

Asked about his earlier statement that the government would have to pay a heavy political price if it went ahead with the nuclear deal, Karat said what he had said was that the government would have to face heavy political consequences.

“Our party’s stand is very clear. The Congress and the government have got that statement. The Left does not want the government to proceed with the operationalisation of the agreement,” he said.

The Left parties would decide its strategy in Parliament over the issue in the next two days. “We have not decided. We are going to discuss our strategy and tactics in two days,” Karat said. — PTI

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PM to meet Left before statement
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 12
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, scheduled to make a statement in Parliament tomorrow on the nuclear deal, is likely to meet Left leaders prior to it to make a last-ditch effort to take them into confidence in the wake of their stiff opposition to it.

The meeting is being considered significant after Dr Singh had dared Left parties to withdraw support to the UPA government over the deal.

But indications are that the two sides had mellowed down and the meeting before the assembly of Parliament is likely to discuss the mode of discussion.

Though the Left is not expected to give in, the effort is on drawing a strategy not to allow a discussion in the Lok Sabha under Rule 184, which requires voting in the House as is being pressed by the BJP.

The strategy of the UPA would be to have the discussion under Rule 193 under which no division is required.

Sources in the Left parties said the Prime Minister had spoken to CPM leader Sitaram Yechury over the phone. Though the call is being attributed to Dr Singh wishing Yechury on his birthday, it is being seen as an effort to placate the Left.

However, the BJP is bent on demanding a discussion under Rule 184. The newly formed UNPA has also dared the UPA to have a discussion on the issue under Rule 184 to test whether it has approval from the majority in the House regarding the deal.

Any discussion under Rule 184 would put the Left in a serious dilemma. The Left is understood to have been thinking an alternative strategy of walking away in protest to save itself from a situation of casting the vote against the deal, if the circumstances arise for discussion under Rule 184.

The government is understood to be veering around the argument that the executive has full power to sign a treaty with any country and ratification of it by Parliament.

Meanwhile, external affairs Pranab Mukherjee said in Bhadreswar (West Bengal) that there was no threat to the UPA and the differences with the Left would be resolved.

But CPM general secretary Prakash Karat asserted in Thiruvananthapuram that the nuclear issue had “serious import”. He said the onus of running the coalition was on the Congress, which should be aware that the UPA government was surviving on Left support.

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No threat to UPA govt: Pranab
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 12
External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee today asserted that there was no threat to the UPA government in the wake of the Left parties’ objection to the Indo-US defence deal.

He was confident that the Manmohan Singh government would run its full five-year term with the support of the Left from the outside.

He was talking to mediapersons at a function in Hoogly today, where several CPM leaders and workers, including MP Rupchand Pal, were present.

Mukherjee said there was nothing to worry about for the UPA government since there was nothing wrong in the deal that could affect the country’s independence and sovereignty.

He hoped that the Left parties would ultimately support the deal after the deliberations tomorrow.

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Withdraw support: V.P. Singh to Left

New Delhi, August 12
Former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh today called upon the Left parties to withdraw support to the Manmohan Singh government on the issue of the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Agreement or force him to scrap the deal.

“If you have to act, act now.... If the Prime Minister cannot re-negotiate the deal, he should terminate it. If he cannot do even this, we will have to find a Prime Minister who will do so.... The Left at this critical point has a historic role to play. I am confident it will do so,” Singh said at a press conference here.

The comments by Singh, who has been critical of the Indo-US Civilian Nuclear Agreement, significantly came two days after the Prime Minister dared Left parties to withdraw support to his government.

Asked if in the event of withdrawal of support, a snap poll was ordered and the BJP and NDA benefitted, he said: “The Left would benefit as never before.”

It was time to think whether to save the country or the government, or else the government would be emboldened to take more such steps that would not be in national interest.

The former Prime Minister said the matter should be discussed in Parliament under Section 184, which enables a vote. Whatever Parliament decided after the vote should be accepted. — UNI

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