'Nuclear deal cannot be decided in Cabinet'

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New Delhi, Oct 19: Left parties today made it clear that the Indo-US nuclear deal is essentially a political issue which could not be decided in the Cabinet.

They also asserted that it is now for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to decide whether he wanted to stand by his announcement at the HT Summit that his government is not a '' one issue government and his indication that the government could not be sacrificed for the sake of the deal. Even Congress chief and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had endorsed what he had said.''

The Left parties' observations came a day after the Prime Minister reminded his UPA partners that" they were part and parcel of the Cabinet process when the 123 Agreement was approved." CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said the Left is waiting for the official stand of the Congress and the UPA on status of the N deal." The UPA partners like NCP chief Sharad Pawar, DMK supremo M Karunanidhi and RJD president Lalu Prasad have openly expressed the view that the government should not sacrificed for the deal.

The assertion by the Prime Minister that in the cabinet decision all these forces were on board is only a hoax," the CPI leaders said.

Mr Bardhan, the veteran Communist and freedom fighter, stressed that the issue had to be decided politically and the parties had to take a position not in the Cabinet but on a public platform.

Mr Faizi, editor, party Weekly 'New Age,' said now the Prime Minister had to decide whether he had to go by the political wisdom of the Congress party or adamantly stick to his" personal committment" to US President George Bush, who he thinks is the friendliest US President.

CPI(M) Senior leader and party Chief Whip in the Lok Sabha Rup Chand Pal said they would like to wait for the UPA Left Political Panel's scheduled October 22 meeting to know the exact position of the government.

" We will make a comment only after the Panel's meeting," said Mr Pal even as his party General Secretary Prakash Karat has already stated that the Left parties would not allow the N pact to move forward and would continue their support to the government so long as it stuck to the Common Minimum Programme.

However, Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan asked the government to put the deal on hold and instead focus on the measures to prevent the Narendra Modi government from making a hat-trick in the Gujarat polls.

He referred to veteran Marxist Jyoti Basu's advice to both the sides to reduce tension before Gujarat elections so as their common opponent, the BJP, did not benefit from the" instability factor." Mr Faizi said the Gujarat polls are also a test for the Congress to reassert its secular credentials." In 2002 under Shankar Singh Vaghela, the Congress adopted a soft Hindutva as Mr Vaghela came from the RSS stock." Again inside the Congress there is a strong lobby, the CPI leader said, which wanted to repeat the fiasco of admitting the BJP rebels who continued to swear by Hindutva." If the Congress admits the BJP rebels, it will boomerang on it,"Mr Faizi added.


UNI

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