UNPA delays final stand on N Deal as SP keeps options open

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New Delhi, Jul 3 (UNI) Despite prompt action by the PMO to Samajwadi Party's demands for more clarifications on the nuclear deal before it backs the UPA government for the safeguards agreement with the IAEA, the party today found it hard to part company with the United National Progressive Alliance(UNPA), and put up a united face with other constituents, demanding a national debate on the deal first.

The delay in taking a categorical stand on the deal is being seen as indication that the SP does not want to burn its bridges with the Left unless the latter withdraws its support to the UPA Government, while it also wants to keeps its Congress option open.

The demand by the UNPA today for more clarifications and a national debate on the deal is being seen as an attempt to keep its afloat for some more time. If the SP had decided for supporting the Congress, it would have posed serious threat to the existence of the UNPA of which the party along with the TDP was the main contituent.

The SP with 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha could come to the rescue of the Manmohan Singh Government in case the Left parted company with the ruling Alliance.

Except the Samajwadi Party, other UNPA constituents, especially, the TDP were strongly opposed to the deal and were one with the Left which has threatened to withdraw support to the UPA Government if it proceeded further in operationalising the controversial deal.

SP General Secretary Amar Singh had already given indication that his party would not be very much wanted by the Congress unless the Left withdrew its support. When asked yesterday at a media briefing as to whether and when he was going to declare SP backing for the Congress on the deal, he said, ''We are an outsider, and they(Left) are insiders. Moreover, they were still to withdraw their support.'' Addressing a press conference after the UNPA meeting here, Mr Singh again said in reply to a query that so far there was no withdrawal of support by the Left, and his party would take appropriate action when that happened.

UNPA leaders announced that they would not give any certificate to the UPA government before July six, the day when the Prime Minister is to leave for G-8 meeting, which the Left has said might lead to its withdrawal of support to the Government.

They demanded a national debate on the issue, saying the clarifications by the PMO last night had not satisfied them fully.

UNPA chairperosn and SP Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Alliance leaders had decided by consensus that they would choose an expert who would convey to the Prime Minister their reservations over the issue.

Dismissing reports of cracks in the Alliance over the nuclear deal, he said all its constituents were united on the issue and all speculations about the dissentions among them over the deal were wrong.


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