New Delhi, Oct 22: A crucial meeting between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left parties will be held here today in an attempt to end the impasse over the much-touted Indo-US civilian nuclear cooperation agreement.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury yesterday said that concerns expressed by the Left Front needed to be met before arriving at a consensus on the contentious civilian nuclear deal.
"Monday's meeting may not be the last meeting," he said.
"Till the meetings are over and till our concerns are taken on board, we expect the government not to proceed (in operationalisation of the deal)," he said.
He also said that the Left parties expect the government to respond to issues raised by them regarding impact of the deal on India's foreign policy and security concerns, at the meeting.
He said that the UPA-Left panel is expected to come out with its findings on the nuclear deal after Diwali.
The UPA-Left Committee set up to look into the concerns expressed by the Communist leaders on the nuclear deal held its last meeting on October 9.
CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan also asked the government to clear its stand on the deal. His remarks came in the wake of a statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the bilateral deal was very much alive and a consensus was needed to be built over it.
"We do not know what exactly the UPA representatives will tell us. But we expect them to clearly say that deal is off or that it has been put on hold," Bardhan said.
He said that the Left's stand was clear and the UPA must make its stand clear on the issue.
"If the government feels that it is not a one-issue government, then it should not make it (the nuclear deal) the sole issue for deciding its fate," he said.
According to some Left leaders, as of now, consensus has not been made on even a single point. The Central Government has committed to take into consideration the findings of the committee.
Earlier, some of the UPA coalition partners, particularly the Sharad Pawar led NCP, Lalu Yadav's RJD and M Karunanidhi led DMK had expressed their reservations about the deal after the Left's opposition to the nuclear agreement reached its zenith, leading to speculation that the Communists may withdraw their support to the Central Government.
Congress party president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said recently at a rally in Haryana that those opposing the deal "were not only against the Congress, but also against the development of the country."
However, at an interaction at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, she indicated that the Congress was unwilling to sacrifice the government for the deal.
During the same summit, the Prime Minister also said that the failure to carry the deal through would not be "the end of life" even though it would be a disappointment.
The Left has been insisting that the deal would make India subservient to US interests and asked the Centre not to go ahead with the 'operationalisation' of the deal.
They have also asked the Congress-led UPA Government not to go ahead with the talks for the India-specific agreement with the IAEA that are needed for the operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Last week, US President George Bush called up Manmohan Singh and discussed the Indo-US nuclear agreement.
The Prime Minister also explained to Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.