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Crucial UPA-Left Meeting Today
Will UPA take final stand on 123?
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 21
A meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the Indo-US nuclear deal tomorrow assumes importance in the wake of the Left's demand of a categorical government statement that the deal is off.

The meeting, to be chaired by external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, may be the last of a series of meetings already conducted on the Left parties' apprehensions over the deal as it comes after last week's statement from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the deal may not be the end of life.

CPM Politburo member Sitaram Yechury said the Left parties were expecting the government's final stand on the nuclear deal to be announced at the meeting.

“We do not know what exactly the UPA will tell us. But what we expect is that they should clearly say that the deal is off or that it has been put on hold. Only then the controversy will end,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said in reiteration of his party's earlier demand.

Striking an ominous note, he said if the government was not a single-issue government, then they should not make it the sole issue for deciding the fate of the government.

“The Prime Minister has said that there are some difficulties. We are working in a coalition. We have to find a way out and I have not given up hope,” Bardhan added.

Asked what the Left would do in the event of government not informing the key outside supporter, Bardhan said, “As far as we are concerned, our stand is clear. We think the government also to some extent has realised it. The allies also realised it.”

The NCP, a constituent of the UPA, said there had been a decisive setback for the deal, but it was not off.

Party spokesman D.P. Tripathi said efforts would be made to sort out the differences amicably at the meeting. “This is the main purpose of the joint mechanism,” he added.

The Congress leaders on the other hand have claimed that the party as well as the UPA government was anxious that the nuclear deal should be through.

The political temperatures on the matter had soared in recent months, but came down some 10 days back, following UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the Prime Minister making it clear that the general elections would not be held early.

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