New Delhi, Jun 27 : The Communist party of India (Marxist) CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat today held Prime Minister Manmohan Singh responsible for plunging the country into a political crisis by deciding to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for securing approval for the safeguards agreement to operationalise the Indo-US nuclear deal.
Karat said that the schedule set by the US was pushing the Prime Minister to go ahead regardless of the consequences of signing the deal.
In an understanding arrived at between the Congress and the Left in November 2007, it was agreed that the government would not operationalise the nuclear deal without seeking the approval of the UPA left coordination committee but now the urgency of the government to approach the Board of Governors of IAEA was not acceptable, Karat said in an article in the forthcoming issue of CPI (M) mouthpiece 'People's Democracy'.
The Bush Administration has insisted that India should fulfill the formalities for the safeguards agreement with the IAEA so that the Americans can initiate the process to secure a waiver for nuclear trade with India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, added Karat.
In a meeting of the UPA-Left coordination committee on Wednesday, the left parties agreed to give some more time to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to clarify its final stand on the deal.
Both sides presented their respective stand on the issue, and it was agreed that a conclusive decision would be taken in the next meeting.
All the members of the Coordination Committee were present at the meeting except Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, who was in Lords for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the 1983 Cricket World Cup victory along with the members of the then team.
In further developments, CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury called on External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday night and then again on Thursday afternoon. Mukherjee reportedly told Yechury that the government was likely to go ahead and approach the IAEA board of governors, despite the Left's opposition and threat to withdraw support.
Left sources are said to have answered that as soon as the government declared it was going ahead, the Left would withdraw support rather than wait for the government to actually go ahead.
In a series of internal meetings within the Left parties lined up in the next fortnight, the communists would weigh their political options for the next Lok Sabha polls.
Meanwhile, Samajwadi party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who had met CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday morning, did not commit his support to the Left's stand.
Yadav said that the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) would take a final decision on which way to go. Though the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) - which is part of the UNPA - has already said it was opposed to the deal, the SP's non-committal stance has confused the Left.
"We (the UPA-Left committee) agreed to meet again and discuss the findings of the committee. There is no point of convincing each other now. The Left position is clear. We think going to the IAEA board is a step towards operationalising the deal. Now, it is for the Congress to decide what they want to do," CPI national secretary D Raja said.
Another top Left leader said the committee may meet for one final time to submit a report that only says that both sides disagreed on the issue and could not move forward.