Kolkata/New Delhi, Oct 31: Almost three months after the crisis began for the UPA government over the contentious Indo-US civilian nuclear deal triggered by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's warning to the Left, CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat has lauded Singh's 'unquestioned integrity' and made it clear that the Left Front wants the UPA Government to complete its full term.
Karat chose the same newspaper-The Telegraph to shower his praise for Prime Minister Singh in which the latter had challenged the Left to withdraw its support from the Government on the nuclear deal issue by saying: “We cannot go back on it. I told them to do whatever they want to do, if they want to withdraw support, so be it."
In an interview to the daily, published today, Karat said that in spite of a 'basic difference' with the Prime Minister on the nuclear agreement, the Left "recognises that Singh has strong convictions on the soundness and utility of the agreement."
"Our differing view on the agreement does not mean that we do not have respect for the Prime Minister. His integrity is unquestioned," Karat added.
Karat's praise for Singh shows a little softening of its posture over the disagreements with the Government and Left"s reluctance for a mid-term poll.
“We are also of the view that there should not be early elections and there is no reason why the UPA government should not complete its full term," Karat said, and added that the recent remarks made by Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi should be appreciated as "they have not made the nuclear deal a make-or-break issue."
Answering questions on various issues, ranging from dangers of imperialism to the formation of a Third Front, Karat said that the failure to operationalise the nuclear deal in no way would affect the stature of Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister of the country since he is "heading a coalition government without the backing of a parliamentary majority for the deal".
"He is not going ahead despite his firm conviction that it is a good deal will not detract from his stature. This situation is well understood in coalitional politics around the world," Karat responded when asked to comment on a view that that the Prime Minister will lose his prestige if he continues in office without pushing the nuclear deal.
He also said that it was a wrong perception that Left will make life difficult for the UPA government if it saves the Government by forsaking the nuclear deal.
"There are many more programmes and policies that the UPA government has to take up and implement. There is no question of smelling blood or hounding the government," he said.
He also said that his ongoing engagements with the leaders of the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) have nothing to do with the formation a Third Front, and it is presently limited to the nuclear deal issue.
Expressing his Front's readiness for more meetings of the special committee on the nuclear deal for arriving at some findings, Karat said that the discussions have helped both sides to understand what are the issues involved and what are the different perceptions.
"I think the committee should now attempt to arrive at the findings after all these discussions. This will show how far we have been able to agree or differ," he said.
However, he added that their stand on the issue "will remain unchanged regardless."
"Once Parliament expresses its views on the deal, it will be incumbent on the government to take these views into account before proceeding," he said.