M A I N   N E W S

PM offers to face House
n Let us complete formalities with IAEA, NSG
n Left unconvinced, says will pull out
Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 30
Breaking his silence over the stand-off with the Left parties on the nuke deal, the Prime Minister said today that all he wanted was the authority to complete the next stages of negotiations at the IAEA and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) after which he would face Parliament before the deal was finally operationalised.

“I agree to come to Parliament before I proceed to operationalise the deal. What can be more reasonable than this,” Manmohan Singh told media persons at his residence after the launch of the national action plan on climate change. “If Parliament feels the government has done something wrong, so be it”, he added.

However, the communists dismissed the Prime Minister’s fresh offer that he would seek Parliament’s approval before operationalising the nuke deal provided the government was allowed to proceed to finalise the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and seek clearance from the 45-nation NSG.

“There is nothing new in it, our Politburo’s stand (of withdrawing support) is very clear,” said CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, while his colleague Sitaram Yechury was equally dismissive.

“The PMO has said there’s nothing new in the Left stand and we have said that there’s nothing new in the PMO stand. That’s exactly what the government has been arguing in the meetings and it’s very clear that both these stands do not converge,” he said.

Speaking in the same vein, the other Left parties, the CPI, the RSP, the Forward Bloc, said they were meeting here on July 3 to chalk out their separation plans with the UPA government.

Stating that the Prime Minister was trying to present a fait accompli before Parliament by seeking permission to go to the IAEA and NSG, determined Left parties indicated they could pull out of the UPA government sooner than later.

Left sources said they were now discussing the timing of withdrawing support to the UPA government as they felt it was determined to go ahead with the nuclear deal, an indication of which is the Prime Minister’s trip to G-8 in Japan beginning July 7.

The four Left parties are in discussions among themselves on when to withdraw support to the Congress-led coalition and a decision is likely to be taken at their meeting here on Friday, they said.

In fact, the Left could even withdraw support before the Prime Minister’s trip to Japan for the G-8 summit next week, as it would be a further confirmation about the government’s decision to move ahead on the nuke deal. Manmohan Singh has made it known that he wants to give a positive response to US President George Bush when he meets him on the sidelines of the summit.

The ruling coalition is working out the timetable for approaching the IAEA, which is contingent on how soon it is able to enlist the support of the 39-member Samajwadi Party to survive a possible trust vote in the Lok Sabha. Although SP leaders have shown signs of warming up to the Congress, they will take a decision after consultations with other UNPA constituents on July 3. This evening, Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh met Pranab Mukherjee for a dialogue.

The Congress and UPA allies will throw their lot behind the Prime Minister even though they are not enthused about breaking with the Left and heading for an early election at a time when the government is battling double-digit inflation.



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