M A I N   N E W S

 Nuclear Deal 
We can pull the plug: CPI
Tripti Nath
Tribune News Service

The UPA government is reneging on its promise to come back to the UPA-Left committee after the IAEA negotiations and before any text is ready.
 — A. B. Bardhan CPI general secretary

New Delhi, March 7
The CPI has threatened to withdraw support if the government pushes the Indo-US nuclear deal.

In a letter faxed today to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said: “Should the government decide to push ahead with the deal, we will not and cannot be a party to go along with it. We will then be left with no option than to withdraw our support to the government.” Hoping that the Prime Minister would give “serious consideration” to his letter, the veteran Communist leader said: “It is not the nuclear deal alone but many other violations of the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) which is causing disquiet.”

Bardhan’s letter comes a day after the Left parties set March 15 as a deadline to the government to convene a meeting of the UPA-Left joint committee to know the government’s mind on the nuclear deal. The party has frowned upon the Prime Minister’s appeal to his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajapyaee to “listen to the call of his conscience” and support the deal by rising above party politics.

The CPI has interpreted this appeal as “an open effort at canvassing BJP’s support for the deal.”

It has dubbed the Prime Minister’s efforts of building a consensus on the deal as “hollow” as the debate in Parliament showed that no such consensus is possible. The CPI general secretary has reminded the government to honour the “solemn decision” taken at the last meeting of the UPA-Left parties joint committee that it would come back to the committee after the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) negotiations and before initiating any text.

The party has complained that this agreement between the UPA government and the Left parties is being totally sidetracked.

“Public opinion is bewildered at all this. We have been waiting with patience for the government to clarify the situation,” the letter reads.

Reacting to the recent statement of US assistant secretary of state Richard Boucher during his recent India visit that “the nature of the government, minority or caretaker, would be of no concern to the USA when agreement is ready to be signed,” the CPI has expressed shock over how such a presumptuous statement along with a series of others made by official US sources should be allowed to go unchallenged.

Reiterating the stand of his party, Bardhan warned that the deal would be “totally against our national interests, our sovereignty and independent foreign policy”.



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