M A I N   N E W S

Good for us: Kalam
Faraz Ahmad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
Having secured the endorsement of former President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam for the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Samajwadi Party for the first time came out in open support of the deal ditching its partners in the United Progressive National Alliance (UNPA).

This decision of the SP with 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha has also put the Left under greater pressure to announce withdrawal of support to the four-year-old United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Tokyo on July 6 to attend the G8 Summit.

Late on Thursday evening, SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav announced that the “Nuclear deal is in the interest of the country.” He said this soon after meeting former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and said, “Kalam told us that the deal is in the interest of the nation and it is beneficial. Kalam explained to us the nuclear deal. Now we will decide what to do.”

The SP chief declared, ”Without the interest of the nation there is no politics.”

Earlier in the day, Mulayam and his confidant general secretary Amar Singh made a big show of camraderie and bonhomie with his UNPA colleagues N. Chandrababu Naidu of TDP and Om Prakash Chautala of INLD, others and swore by their loyalty to the UNPA at Amar Singh’s residence.

They endorsed Chautala’s declaration that “We will not give a certificate to the Prime Minister before July 6. Till we are convinced we will never give our ascent,” Chautala asserted.

In fact, Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh had said, This is a national issue. It should be debated nationally It dosn’t just concern the SP or the UNPA.”

To avoid the embarrassment of answering for the capitulation of SP leaders, the other UNPA leaders went underground. While Naidu remained incommunicado, his parliamentary party leader here K. Yerrannaidu refused to speak to The Tribune pleading urgent business.

Simultaneously, the Left is busy making preparations to pull out support from the UPA government as soon as the government says it is going ahead with the deal, either before July 6 or after the Prime Minister returns, depending on the government’s response.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) has already authorised its leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury to take the necessary steps as and when the government finalises its decision to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to sign the Nuclear Safeguards Agreement.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) central secretariat also met here on Thursday authorising Bardhan and Raja to decide together with the other Left parties the timing of withdrawing support to the UPA government and the contents of the letter to be given jointly to President Pratibha Patil.

The other two Left parties, the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and the Forward Bloc, also conducted a similar exercise.

After the meeting Bardhan said, “We will demand tomorrow from the government to tell us as to when it is going to the Board of Governors of the IAEA. The question is not whether they are going (to IAEA). The fact that they are going ahead is clear, but when is the question,” he said.

”There are no two opinions (about the Left decision to withdraw support). Modalities will be decided ... We have to write to the President (to declare withdrawal of support) ... all these things will be decided,” he said.

Asked whether the Left parties had any indication as to when the government would move the IAEA, Bardhan said “The government itself is in a hurry. If they are going (to IAEA), they are going within this week... Within the next seven, eight or 10 days.”

Asked whether the Left will wait for the Prime Minister to return from G8 Summit, Bardhan said, “If they tell us they are going on the 5th or 6th, we will withdraw then itself. But in the normal course, we will wait till he comes back.”



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