UPA-Left disagreement on N-deal widens

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New Delhi, Sep 19: Differences between the UPA and the Left parties over the Indo-US nuclear deal appear to have widened with the Left parties today making it clear they did not agree with the ruling coalition's understanding on the implications of the Hyde Act on the country's foreign policy and security.

"We don't agree with their( UPA) understanding on the implications of the Hyde Act on the 123 Agreement entered between India and the US and other issues involved in it," said CPI leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja after an hour-long meeting of the four Left parties.

Talking to the sources, the CPI leaders said their reply mainly concentrated on the overriding impact of the Hyde Act on the agreement, besides their differences on the energy security and its economic viability among other things.

The meeting was attended by CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, party Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury, RSP leaders Abani Roy and his colleague Forward Bloc Genenral Secretary Debvrat Biswas.

Barring Mr Roy, all these Left leaders are on the 15-member Panel, headed by government chief negotiator Pranab Mukherjee.

Mr Raja said the US is not the first country in the world which has provided nuclear energy to India." We have already got it and the moot question is whether the Agreement will help India to get the same on cheaper rate or much higher rate." The Left parties, which don't seem to be relenting, have also rejected the government's new agreement pertaining to nuclear renaissance and have sought detailed report from the government as to how this conclusion had been reached.

Mr Biswas said the Left had pointed out that in Europe all countries had either phased out their nuclear energy programmes or are not expanding them with the only exceptions in the developed world being Japan and France.

In the developing world only China, India and South Korea had shown interest in nuclear energy, he added.

Mr Roy deplored that the government had now chosen to field the corporate lawyers to justify the deal.

Without naming Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal, the RSP leader said they would definitely expose" hollowness of their arguments." Significantly, the Panel, which held its first formal meeting on September 11 where the agenda, the procedures and the schedule was finalised, is to meet today at Mr Mukherjee's residence for the second time.

The Politcial Mechanism, originally set up to remove the Left parties doubts and apprehensions on the Pact, seems to be getting complicated following arguments on technical and legal points.

The Left leaders assert that the onus is on the government to stop the deal and allow Members of Parliament to debate it at length in the Winter Session.

Mr Karat has already suggested to the Manmohan Singh government not to proceed with the N-deal for at least six months so as the ''sense of the House is taken into account."

UNI

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