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UPA close to getting Mulayam’s support
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

He is with us: Lalu

New Delhi: RJD chief and railway minister Lalu Prasad said on Tuesday Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party was with the UPA and expressed confidence that both the government and nuclear deal would survive. “Sarkar bhi rahega, deal bhi chalega,” he told reporters. — PTI

PM calls on Prez

New Delhi: Amid rapid political developments over the Indo-US nuclear deal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called on President Pratibha Devisingh Patil at the Rastrapati Bhawan. The two discussed recent national and international developments during the 50-minute meeting, a Rashtrapati Bhawan spokesperson said. — PTI

New Delhi, July 1
Taking seriously the Left threat to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, if it proceeds with signing the nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the government has almost got the Samajwadi Party (SP), the Janata Dal-Secular and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) on board.

SP general secretary Amar Singh, who met external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Monday night and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat on Tuesday clearly indicated a change in tone.

SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav expressed similar sentiments. He and Singh spelt out “fighting the communal BJP-BSP nexus” and avoiding elections at this stage as their first priority. But this has put Mulayam Singh in a piquant situation.

SP sources said while Mulayam was keen to save the government to avoid early elections, he was reluctant to ditch the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA)-he leads, till he was certain of the numbers on the side of the government.

The UNPA comprising the SP, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) is meeting here on Thursday to discuss their stand on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. So far it has opposed the deal.

The Congress has asked Mulayam to persuade his UNPA partners to support the deal. To arm the SP with a cogent argument to support the deal the government has despatched National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan to make SP leaders understand the finer points of the deal, which they in turn will further communicate to their UNPA partners.

Mulayam was willing to try but had reportedly told the Congress leaders that he was not hopeful of winning over the other UNPA partners. In fact the battle lines within the UNPA on this issue seemed already drawn. In the run up to the UNPA meeting TDP parliamentary party leader K. Yerrannaidu accompanied by former party MP K. Rama Mohan Rao first met Karat here on Tuesday and later met Mulayam.

Mulayam maintained that elections at this juncture would only help Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s BSP in UP and the BJP nationally and for that both Mulayam and Amar Singh clearly indicated that they were ready to change their tone.

Mulayam said, “In politics there are no permanent enemies though there may be ideological differences.”

Similarly, Amar said, “In UP, the BJP and the BSP are one force for my party. Despite being ditched by the BSP thrice in the past, the BJP is ready to go again with it,” he added.

Simultaneously railway minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, working overtime as UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s emissary again met her along with Pranab. In a parallel development, Left leaders are meeting here on Friday. The four Left parties have reportedly authorised their leaders in Delhi to get together and prepare the draft for withdrawing support at a short notice, if the government proceeds with the deal any further.

Meanwhile, the CPM Politburo has dismissed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s appeal to allow him to proceed up to the nuclear deal and his offer to come back to Parliament after that.

The statement said, “This would mean a fait accompli, as the only step left would be the vote in the US Congress.”



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