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Support now only on merit, says Bardhan
R. Suryamurthy
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
Keeping up the pressure on the Manmohan Singh government, the CPI today said the support of the Left should “not be taken for granted” and it would only extend help to the UPA coalition on the “merit of each issue.”

Stating that the functioning of the Congress-led coalition government had become “untenable”, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan said: “There is a need to critically review our outside support and it cannot be taken for granted. The support from now on will be on the merit of each issue.”

He clearly stated that the UPA-Left Coordination Committee, which has been defunct for the past several months, is dead.

The CPM Politburo also met today to review the performance of the government and the strategy to be adopted in dealing with the ruling coalition, including its increasing proximity towards Washington. The party’s discussion remained inconclusive and would continue tomorrow.

Party sources said the government would feel the heat of the Left pressure inside and outside Parliament. It would be their strategy to reduce the government into a lame duck formation.

“We will not pull down the government. We will not let it run. It will fall on its own,” a Left leader, who did not wish to be identified, said.

Talking to newspersons after four-hour-long meeting of the National Secretariat of the CPI, Bardhan said, “The four Left parties had jointly decided to give support to the government and any decision on the review of the support will be taken in consultation with other parties.”

Bardhan said the 123 Agreement on nuclear cooperation should not be seen in isolation, but in the whole context of growing disenchantment of the people towards the Centre for its policies which had resulted in increase in price rise, poverty, unemployment, opening up of the retail trade to the organised sector.

He said the nuclear agreement and defence cooperations with the US was only an extension of this and part of the design of Washington to co-opt India as its strategic ally in Asia.

On the nuclear deal, Bardhan said the government should not operationalise it as its views did not reflect the majority of the House. He asked, “Why the government is in so much hurry to operationalise it, when it took two and a half years to come to this agreement.”

As the Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has ruled out discussion under rule, he said the party did not discuss the strategy to be adopted in the House.

He, however, said Left members in Parliament would adopt strategy and tactics on the basis of merit of each issue.

When asked about his reported statement that the honeymoon with the UPA was over and only divorce papers had to be filed and CPM general secretary Prakash Kart stating that honeymoon was over but marriage could continue, Bardhan said, “If you want me to answer in simile and metaphor, I would say, “Marriage may continue, but there is no love in it. Marriage without love leads to divorce.”

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CPM will support UPA for entire term: Basu
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, August 17
“The CPI (M) does not want the BJP and other communal forces to come to power and run the government once again and destroy the nation. And accordingly, we are not pulling out our support from the UPA government,” declared the veteran Jyoti Basu while talking to the mediapersons at his Salt Lake residence today.

The veteran leader wants the Manmohan Singh government to complete the remaining part of the five-year term with their support. “Let's us see what happens afterwards after the elections,” he remarked.

Basu admitted the Left was not at all happy about the performance of Manmohan Singh government but still there was no option for them at this point but to support the government from outside. He said he hoped the Prime Minister would now rectify all the mistakes and get their support for the rest of the term.

The senior leader said he was keen to be present at the crucial politburo meeting in the capital but he could not due to his failing health.

However, during the past few days, almost all the senior party leaders including the general secretary Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechuri, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Biman Bose have been holding consultations with him and seeking his advice on the question of the Left parties’ relations with the UPA.

Basu said he was not aware of the CPI and other Left parties’ plan of withdrawing support but he felt any such step by them at this stage would be equally disastrous.

The veteran leader said when the UPA government was formed they thought it wise to support the government from outside.

“But the support was not unconditional and accordingly, a Common Minimum Programme (CMP) was adopted with their endorsement for running the government. But we regret to note that while flouting the CMP, the Prime Minister has taken several major decisions which we have been objecting to,” said Basu.

He said he was not aware about the details of the Indo-US nuclear deal but he had heard two contradictory statements made by the Bush administration and the Prime Minister as well as Pranab Mukherjee on the deal.

He demanded that these contradictions be immediately resolved and the Left parties be convinced that the country's sovereignty and internal interests would not be damaged by the pact. He also advised the Prime Minister to not take any major steps unilaterally but to consult other UPA partners and the Left parties as well.

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PM dines with Buddha

New Delhi, August 17
As parts of efforts to end the face-off between UPA government and Left parties on Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today had a dinner meeting with West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here.

The meeting was "good, very good", Bhattacharjee told mediapersons in reply to a question after the two-hour meeting at the official residence of the Prime Minister. He declined to say anything further. — PTI

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No voting, only discussion on N-deal: Speaker
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

Highlights

  • LS Speaker allows discussion on Indo-US nuclear deal on Monday without voting.
  • Speaker says treaties and agreements become effective without Parliament's intervention.
  • Speaker rejects BJP and SP notices for having discussion on nuclear deal under Rule 184, which entails voting.
  • Both Houses face adjournments due to protests with ruling coalition MPs demanding apology from George Fernandes for virulent attack against PM.

New Delhi, August 17
Irreconcilable differences on the proposed Indo-US civilian nuclear deal continued to cast their shadow on Parliamentary proceedings with UPA MPs’ protests over former defence minister George Fernandes’ virulent attack against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leading to adjournments.

In the ensuing din, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee rejected the Opposition's demand for a debate and voting on the nuclear deal and observed that Parliament had "no competence" to decide on the operationalisation of an agreement with a foreign country. He clarified that it was the right of the Centre to enter into treaties and agreements with foreign countries. "Such a treaty or agreement becomes effective without any intervention by Parliament."

Rejecting the Bharatiya Janata Party and Samajwadi Party notices for a discussion on the Indo-US nuclear deal under Rule 184 entailing voting, the Speaker made it clear that "there has been no occasion where any treaty or agreement was ever discussed under Rule 184."

The Speaker, however, allowed a discussion on the deal on Monday under Rule 193 thus defeating the BJP's efforts to seek voting in order to censure the government. Chatterjee quickly noted that the discussion is subject to the availability of the Prime Minister in the House.

Both the BJP and the seven-party United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) have been demanding voting on the issue to embarrass the government.

By asking the government to renegotiate the pact, the motion "in effect seeks to disapprove the agreement entered into and to require the government not to give effect to the agreement in its present form and contents, which the House has no competence to do," Chatterjee said.

The Speaker had no doubt that "it will clearly amount to the House rejecting the agreement in its present form."

Left MPs, who are against the Manmohan Singh government operationalising the nuclear deal concurred with parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi demanding an apology from NDA convenor George Fernandes for his remarks against the Prime Minister.

Later, Leader of the Opposition L.K. Advani sought enactment of a law to make it obligatory that treaties and agreements should be ratified by Parliament. The Left parties supporting the government from outside had made such a demand in the past.

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