Indo-US nuclear deal: Left ups ante, builds pressure on allies

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New Delhi, Jun 20 (UNI) Left parties today threatened to part company with the UPA if it decides to go to Vienna for talks on a safeguards agreement with the IAEA even as they continued their efforts to build pressure on the allies of the government to stop it from going ahead with the "disastrous" move.

Strongly denying that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered to quit on the Indo-US nuke deal issue, the Congress said it would not consider the eventuality of the agreement falling through as loss of face for the UPA.

Declaring that the countdown for the collapse of the UPA had began, senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu said in Hyderabad his party would not rescue the Centre which was at loggerheads with the Left over the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Amid the UPA-Left deadlock, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will leave here tomorow for Australia, a key member of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), for discussions with his counterpart on various issues including energy.

The visit is significant as Australia is the second largest producer of Uranium after Canada and a member of the 45-nation NSG whose nod is essential for the implementation of the Indo-US civilian nuclear agreement.

Top leaders of the CPI(M)and CPI had a lengthy session to discuss all possible political scenarios arising out of the standoff between them and the government even as Left leaders met important allies of the UPA to stress their viewpoint.

After CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI National Secretary D Raja were closeted at CPI(M) headquarters this afternoon, Mr Raja told newspersons that the Left was firm on its opposition to the deal.

" There is no change in our stand on the N-deal. We still maintain that the government should not proceed to seek approval of the text of the India-specific safeguards agreement from the Board of Directors of the IAEA," said Mr Raja.

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