Pawar expresses hope over ending stalemate on nuke deal with Left

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Pune, Jun 21 (UNI) Union Agriculture Minister and NCP President Sharad Pawar today expressed the hope that his efforts for ending the stand of over the nuclear deal with the Left parties would bear fruits.

Speaking informally to reporters here, Mr Pawar said ''I am hopeful that something will come out of these talks. We are meeting again on June 25 at New Delhi, for the next round of talks and have also decided that if need be, we will meet again on June 27-28 to discuss the deal.'' He said his talks with the Left were held in a cordial and a positive atmosphere.

Asked about the ruckus at the Maharashtra Congress workers meet in Mumbai on Thursday in the presence of party President Sonia Gandhi, he said the behaviour reflected the culture in the Congress.

''This is their 'sanskriti' (culture) not ours,'' he remarked.

When asked about seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress in the coming Lok Sabha polls, Mr Pawar said the NCP was ready for sharing seats.

''We are not aware, who will take the decision at the state level.

But we are ready for seat sharing,'' he reiterated and said his party's state unit had already discussed the issue and had prepared a programme for delimitation of constituencies in the state.

On rising prices of essential commodities and the foodgrain situation, the Agriculture Minister said the rise in fuel prices internationally, was responsible for the price rise and added that there was adequate stock of foodgrains.

''Everything depends on this monsoon, as of now, we are fine with the stock of foodgrains for at least a year and half,'' he pointed out.

Mr Pawar, who was in the city to inaugurate the New Oncology Facility of Emcure Pharmaceuticals Ltd, said a new pharma policy was on the anvil and would be announced shortly. The company also inaugurated its malaria vaccine facility.

He informed that around 60,000 people die of malaria in the country every year and globally, a person dies of the disease every thirty seconds.

UNI DWN/SP SSS ARB NS1924

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