Sonia Gandhi meets UPA allies on nuke deal

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New Delhi, Jun 24: On Monday, June 23 Congress President Sonia Gandhi the key allies of UPA to discuss the logjam over Indo-US nuclear deal. She met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan here. NCP supremo Sharad Pawar after holding talks with UPA chair person, also met CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat to discuss the issue.

Sources said that Sonia was trying to gain a sense of the UPA allies stance on the pact, before taking a final make-or-break decision. Allies had conveyed to Ms Gandhi that they back the nuclear deal but do not favour early polls, particularly because of high inflation. The crucial parleys came amid Left parties threat that they would withdraw support to the UPA if the government went to the IAEA to sign the safeguards agreement for the nuke deal. Ram Vilas Paswan, after meeting Gandhi, said that the deal was in India's interest, adding that the UPA government would continue to function with Left parties' support. Left parties are not anti-national; they just have a difference of opinion, the LJP chief said further.

"Nuclear deal is important for the energy requirements of the country. We are talking to the Left parties, But it is not the right time to go for polls", said RJP chief Lalu Prasad Yadav after meeting Sonia.

The talks came a day after DMK Chief M Karunanidhi met CPI(M)'s Karat and CPI national secretary D Raja on the nuke deal issue. Karunanidhi after holding talks with the left parties had asked both UPA and Left to maintain unity as it is essential for nation's progress.

Prakash Karat was also of the similar view and said Left parties would meet Karunanidhi again to find a solution to the Indo-US nuclear deal. Amid this political uncertainty over the pact, the United States last week had warned that time was running out for the civil nuclear deal. State Department spokesman McCormack said that every single day that is delayed makes the deal much more difficult to be implemented.

However, Left sources maintained that if the government moved the IAEA Board of Governors, it would be violating the agreement reached at the meeting of the UPA-Left Committee on November 16, 2007. They reiterated their threat to break away from UPA if the next step was made on the issue, saying their position was 'non-negotiable'.

The sources discounted the possibility of a middle path at this moment to resolve the impasse. They feel the government was probably in some sort of compulsion or hurry to secure a breakthrough before the Prime Minister meets US President George W Bush on the sidelines of the G-8 summit in Japan in the first week of July.

OneIndia News

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