Change in SP stand on Nuclear Deal threatening UNPA existence

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (UNI) With the Samajwadi Party reconfirming its willingness to change its stand on the nuclear deal and go with the Congress, many question marks have arisen over the existence of the UNPA which was formed on the principle of equidistance both from the Congress and the BJP.

While, on the one hand the Samajwadi Party (SP), the main constituent of the UNPA, has intensified its dialogue with the Congress over the deal as the meeting of its General Secretary Amar Singh with External Affairs Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee last night indicates, the Alliance of seven regional parties is meeting here on July three to take a final stand over the deal.

But before the meeting, enough indications have come from SP leaders that their party had started taking its own stand on the issue.

First, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav said, ''No one is an enemy in politics.

There may be ideological differences, but this chapter is now closed.'' He said this when asked whether the two parties were taking a ''relook'' at the state of their relations, and then Mr Amar Singh in an interview with a TV channel amply indicated that his party was fully ready to forget all the bitterness with the Congress.

''Politics should not be governed by past hurts, prejudices and personal egos. Issues need to be taken in the right context and we need to see what is the best that can be done to avoid a crisis,'' he told NDTV.

He said the SP was willing to talk to the Prime Minister as ''a national crisis is about the nation and did not concern politics.'' If the Prime Minister wanted discussions, it would not be wrong to talk to him, he had said, adding, ''You may agree to disagree, but non-communication is the worst thing in politics'.

Moreover, he today further justified his party's increasing closeness to the Congress pointing out to the strong likelihood of the communal forces (BJP and BSP) coming together.

On the other hand, the other UNPA constituents are opposing the deal and have not indicated that their stand could change if the Congress brought out some new facts.

The SP has 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha while the Left combine has 59 in the 288 of the UPA, a scenario in which the support of the SP would become crucial for the Congress-led ruling Alliance if the communist allies withdrew support, which seems almost a certainty now.

The Congress wants to be sure of the SP support for the deal before the Prime Minister leaves for Japan to attend the G-8 summit where he would meet US President George Bush, and it is understood that he would like to take a final decision on the issue before that.

He has set a deadline of July 15 to finalise an India-specific nuclear safeguards treaty with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

That is the reason that both the Congress and the Left were making all out efforts to win the SP to their side.

Political analysts feel that the UNPA's fate would depend on which way the SP goes, but the Alliance constituents said it would pose no threat to UNPA existence.

UNI NAZ BDP AS1409

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