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N-deal
Cong forcing elections: CPI
Tribune News Service

Let the people decide, says Yechury

In contrast to the strident reaction of its Left allies, CPM tonight sought to take a soft line to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s remarks that elements opposing the Indo-US nuclear deal were “enemies” of the country’s development. “We have been taking our view on the deal to the people openly. They (Congress) also have a right to do so. Let the people decide. There is nothing to take umbrage upon her remarks”, CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury told PTI.

New Delhi, October 7
The UPA-Left relations soured today, with the Communists taking umbrage to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s statement on the nuclear deal, saying if a mid-term poll was thrust on the country, then the Congress alone will be responsible for it.

“We do not want a mid-term poll. They (Congress) alone would be responsible for it,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan told The Tribune.

Reacting to Congress president’s statement on the nuclear deal in Jhajjar, Bardhan said, “We have been making efforts to resolve the differences on the deal. Three meetings have already taken place and two more are fixed.”

Asked about the statement of Sonia Gandhi on the nuke deal, the CPI leader said it only indicates that “they (Congress) do not want to wait for the outcome of the UPA-Left committee on the deal. For them, it is end of the road and a clear indication that they want go along with the Americans (US).”

Gandhi, after laying the foundation stone of1500 mw Indira Gandhi Super Thermal power project in Haryana, said, “Some people are trying to create obstacles in the country’s path of development. They are against development and peace both. You should be on guard against them.”

“Those who have been creating hindrances in the implementation of development programmes were enemies of not only the Congress government but also of the common man. Therefore, such elements should be given a befitting reply,” she said.

Sonia said, “We have a proposal for a nuclear deal with the US. The deal is necessary for the country to keep the pace of development going. Power generation is important and central to our future requirements if we want development to take place.”

UPA chairperson’s statement comes on the eve of the visit of International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to India. He arrives on a three-day visit on Monday and his schedule includes a visit to nuclear facilities near Mumbai and talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on October 10.

Congress president’s outburst, observers said, was a clear indication of an imminent mid-term poll. Gandhi had stated on Saturday that her party was ready to face snap poll and had lauded the Manmohan Singh government for the deal and for initiating welfare schemes for the people.

However, CPI leader asked, “What kind of development is being talked about. According to the government’s own report, about 70 per cent of the population are earning below Rs 20 per day.”

CPI national secretary D. Raja said the Left parties were opposed to the deal in national interest and had always stood for peace and development in the country.

This is the first public statement on the nuclear deal by the Congress president. The relations between the Communists and the government strained after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in an interview posed a challenge to the Left parties to withdraw support.

The Left had warned of “serious consequences” if the government takes the next step to operationalise the nuclear deal. The next step is holding formal talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency for negotiating India specific safeguard agreement.

The statements from the Congress president and the Communists come just days ahead of a crucial meeting of 15-member UPA-Left committee on the deal scheduled for Tuesday.

The meeting of the committee have so far only resulted in the two sides exchanging notes on different aspects of the deal and its implications for the country’s foreign policy. Both sides have not moved away from their stated position and party sources indicated that the committee is unlikely to come out with any breakthrough formula.

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‘It was about Haryana’

New Delhi, October 7
The Congress tonight sought to downplay the remarks of its president Sonia Gandhi at a public meeting in Haryana that opponents of Indo-US nuclear deal were “enemies” of the country’s development saying they were not directed at Left parties.

AICC sources said whatever Sonia had said was in the context of Haryana.

Most of the Left parties had reacted sharply to the AICC chief’s remarks at the rally in Jhajjar with CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan and said the Congress was going into the election mode. However, the CPM adopted a soft line towards her utterances and said there was nothing to take umbrage at them.

In a sharp but veiled attack on the Left, Congress president Sonia Gandhi at a public meeting in Haryana strongly defended the nuclear deal and alleged “elements” opposed to the country’s progress were enemies not only of Congress but also of the nation’s development. — PTI

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