M A I N   N E W S

Mulayam weighs options
Left refuses to budge
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 29
Stalemate continued for the fifth day today over the contentious Indo-US civilian nuclear deal with the Left refusing to change its stand and the Congress persisting in its efforts to save the nuclear deal and the government.

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, the latest element to enter this political drama, kept everyone guessing on Sunday too by admitting to a thaw in Congress-SP relations, and at the same time denying any differences within the United National Progressive Alliance over the deal.

Yadav appeared to be weighing his options. His immediate concern is to form a viable political force with the Congress and preferably with Ajit Singh’s Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) in his home turf against Chief Minister Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

But to achieve this objective, he is being called upon by the Congress to support the Indo-US nuclear deal that his traditional ally the CPM and his current comrades the TDP and the INLD are opposing.

The day was marked by the CPM Politburo reiterating the stand taken by Left leaders at the June 25 UPA-Left coordination committee meeting and dispersed early. At the end of the two-and-a-half-hour meeting here, the Politburo issued a statement on the expected lines, which party general secretary Prakash Karat merely read out and refused to take any questions.

Privately, sources said the Politburo had authorised Karat and Sitaram Yechury to implement the party decision of withdrawal of support in the event the government moving ahead with the deal. But sources also said the Left was not inclined to make the first move till the government actually proceeds further with the deal.

The statement said, “The Politburo wishes to point out that going to the Board of Governors of the IAEA for the approval of the safeguards agreement will be a flagrant violation of the understanding arrived at in the November 16, 2007, meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal.”

The CPM also reminded the UPA of its basic commitment to fight the communal forces and said, “The UPA was formed to keep the communal forces at bay. By taking such a step and the political consequences thereafter would undermine that purpose. We appeal to the partners of the Congress in the UPA to ensure that no such steps are taken which will help the communal forces.”

It reiterated that, “In case the government decides to go ahead with such a harmful agreement, which has no majority support in Parliament, the CPM will withdraw support to the UPA government in concert with the Left parties.”

As for Mulayam Singh Yadav, he spelt out his political line to a private TV news channel here today saying, “No one is an enemy in politics. There may be ideological differences (with the Congress) but that chapter is now closed.”

He, however, also insisted that there were no differences within the UNPA on the nuclear deal issue.

Meanwhile, the Congress maintained, “We will continue our efforts to save the deal and the coalition. But we will not be as reactive as the Left,” Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told yet another TV channel.

Similar views were also expressed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel, who said “The doors with the Left are still open,” and that the issue would be resolved through talks.



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