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 would ask for time if the text of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the Indo-US nuclear deal was not circulated ahead of the Congress-Left meeting on March 17.

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 - would meet on March 17 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 do not know what the agenda will be on the meeting, convened by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, ''the CPI General Secretary said, adding, ''We expect 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 is with the government.'' The CPI leader made it clear that they would 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 became 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 wants to have a Congress-BJP agreement on the nuclear deal,'' he asserted.

To a question, Mr Bardhan said he did not find any reason why there should be an early Assembly election in the country, but at the same time said it was up to the Congress to decide on it.

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