M A I N   N E W S

Meltdown? Consensus possible, says CPI

New Delhi, November 1
After praising Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s integrity, the CPI today did not rule out the possibility of consensus on the Indo-US nuclear deal and said it depends on what action the government takes.

“I don’t rule out the possibility of finding a consensus. It depends upon what steps the government takes. After all, it is not a one-issue or a one-party government but a coalition,” CPI general-secretary A.B Bardhan told reporters here when asked whether a consensus was possible between the UPA and Left on the nuclear issue.

To a question what would be the next step for the Left parties on the issue, he said “the CPI National Council has authorised the National Executive and Central Secretariat to take appropriate decisions in consultation with the other Left parties.” Asked whether the response of the CPI and the Left parties would be “tough” against the government after the November 16 meeting of the UPA-Left Committee on the issue, he said “it all depends on what the government’s response is.” Bardhan accused the USA of “rushing to India” its high officials and diplomats to “pressurise the government and the BJP” to go ahead with the deal.

“Never have I seen such high officials descending on the country to persuade... Sometimes there are allurements, sometime threats and sometime blackmail,” he said, adding “but our political parties are capable of withstanding this and strengthen our democratic process”.

“The party is of the firm opinion that the deal is not in the national interest. The national council held that India is being dragged into US global strategy. USA’s intention is to make India a strategic partner and its military an ally,” the CPI leader said.

Noting that American multinationals and the military-industrial complex were looking at India as lucrative market for nuclear reactors, technology and warplanes, he said “from 123 agreement, they look forward to the 126 aircraft deal”.

Government has issued a contract to buy 126 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.

To a question about CPI (M) general-secretary Prakash Karat hailing the Prime Minister for his “unquestioned integrity”, Bardhan said no Left party had ever questioned his personal integrity. “He is a thorough gentleman about whose honesty there is no question or doubt. ... The dispute is over issues, the policies that are being pursued.”

Asked about the Prime Minister having dared Left parties to withdraw support to government on the nuclear issue, he said, “we don’t decide our stand on what the Prime Minister had said earlier, but on the basis of the text of the 123 agreement, its context and its consequences”.

The leader hailed the unity of the Left parties on the nuclear deal issue and said this should be carried forward. — PTI



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