Left to ask for time if IAEA text not circulated - Bardhan

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 11 (UNI) CPI general secretary A B Bardhan today said the Left parties will ask for time if the text of the International Atomic Energy Agency(IAEA) on the Indo-US nuclear deal was not circulated before the scheduled March 17 Congress-Left meeting.

Mr Bardhan, who was here to attend the party's state executive body meeting, told newspersons that four Left parties - the CPI, CPI(M), Forward Bloc and the RSP - will meet on March 17 next to decide the strategy.

The idea to meet before the meeting was to have common view points of the four Left parties on the deal, he remarked.

'' As on today we did not know what the agenda will be on the meeting, convened by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, '' the CPI general secretary said adding, '' We expected that they will tell us what they have discussed with the IAEA chief. '' '' We also expect them to show us the agenda and circulate the text although it is a secret document, '' Mr Bardhan said adding, '' I even don't know whether the text was with the government. '' The CPI leader made it clear that they will welcome any commercial deal with the US as they had welcomed such deal with France and Russia.

'' We would, however, oppose the Indo-US Nuclear deal as it imposed several restrictions on our independent foreign policy, '' Mr Bardhan said.

On Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal to BJP stalwart Atal Behari Vajpayee whom Mr Singh had called as ''Bhisma Pitamaha'' to rise above the party politics and support the deal, the CPI general secretary said the ''Bhisma Pitamaha in Mahabharat went on helpless when Draupadi was undressed. Let us see what role this Bhisma Pitamaha will play in the nuclear deal. '' '' I have also told the Prime Minister whether he wanted to have a Congress-BJP agreement on the Nuclear deal, and after that the meeting had been convened by Mr Pranab Mukherjee on March 17 to discuss the issue, '' he asserted.

To a question, Mr Bardhan said he did not find any reason why there should be an early General election in the country, but at the same time said it was up to the Congress to decide whether they want an early election or complete the tenure.

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