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PM: Failure of N-deal won’t be end of life
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 12
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi set at rest speculation about a possible snap poll by stressing that they would like the UPA government to last its full term till the mid 2009.

While Dr Singh insisted that there will be no early elections and that the failure to carry through the Indo-US Nuclear deal will not be the end of life, Sonia did not think it prudent to sacrifice the government because of the Left's stout opposition to the deal.

The Prime Minister said the elections are far away and that the government still has one-and-a-half years to complete its term. "I hope and expect we will stay the course," Dr Singh said during an interaction at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here today.

Speaking from the same forum a little later, Sonia, who is also the chairperson of the UPA observed "we are not in favour of early elections as the Prime Minister has explained that the deadline is in 2009."

When the Prime Minister was asked if he would step down in case the nuclear deal did not pull through, Dr Singh responded by saying "it is a suggestion for action." At the same time the Prime Minister affirmed that the deal was honourable and good for India. He said he had not given up hope that the differences with the Left on the civil nuclear deal would be resolved.

Asked if his position as Prime Minister will be weakened if the nuclear deal failed, Dr Singh said "we are not a one issue government. If the deal does not come through it will be a disappointment. In life one has to live with certain disappointments and move on."

Sonia, who fielded questions from Vir Sanghvi and the distinguished assemblage with aplomb, did not think that the Left was being unreasonable in opposing the nuclear deal. She made it clear that the government did not want a confrontation with the Left because it went contrary to the coalition dharma. "We have to understand the Left's views and take note of what they say." She maintained that efforts were on to bring about a consensus with the Left on the nuclear deal.

She categorically denied that anyone from the Congress had called the Left stooges of China. She also clarified that she had not attacked the Left during her speech in Haryana a few days back.

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