TR Baalu meets Sonia ahead of UPA-Left panel talks

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New Delhi, Jun 24 (UNI) Even as any breakthrough appears unlikely at tomorrow's UPA-Left talks on the Indo-US nuclear deal, DMK leader T R Baalu today called on UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and conveyed to her the outcome of the meeting the Left leaders had with DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Sunday.

''There is no imminent threat to the government'' over the nuke deal, Mr Baalu told reporters after the meeting. The DMK leader, besides Mr Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, was present at the meeting CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI National Secretary D Raja had with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

Mr Baalu also reiterated his party supremo's statement, issued after the Sunday talks, that the UPA and the Left should not have a showdown on the nuclear issue and rather seek to resolve their differences across the table.

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Chairman of the UPA-Left panel on the sensitive issue, would be back from Australia later today and is expected to consult Ms Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before his tomorrow's talks with leaders of the Left parties.

According to political sources involved in the series of delberations over the issue, a clear picture is possible only after the Samajwadi Party and its allies in the United Nationalist Progressive Alliance (UNPA) hold their meeting on July 3 at the residence of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala here.

Initial reports had indicated that Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav's SP would somewhat come to the rescue of the UPA in the event of the Left pulling the rug on the nuclear imbroglio. But, subsequently SP leader Amar Singh made it clear that it would be difficult for his party to take a U-turn on the deal overnight.

The swift political developments in the past one week since the postponement of the UPA-Left panel meet have appeared to have widened the differences on the nuclear issue rather than contributed to a possible resolution.

Sensing the coming together of the SP and the Congress, BSP chief Mayawati withdrew her party's outside support to the UPA and even major UPA constituents, the DMK and the RJD, virtually put paid to the possibility of the Congress preferring a showdown with the Left and going for early Lok Sabha polls to suffering a loss of face in the international arena in the event of failing to honour its commitment to the US.

Dr Singh would be meeting US President George Bush within a fortnight on the sidelines of the G8 summit at Japan and it is inevitable that the nuclear issue would figure in the talks.

UNI SN RP HT1628

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