Left to take collective view on Pranab's reply tomorrow

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (UNI) The Left parties will meet here tomorrow to take a collective view on the reply of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee in response to their queries to know whether the government is proceeding to seek the approval of the Safeguards Agreement by the Board of Governors of the IAEA.

''As far as our position is concerned, all the Left parties will take a collective view on the reply sent to us today,'' Senior Left leader Nilotpal Basu told UNI.

He said the CPI(M) had received the letter by Mr Mukherjee, sent in the name of party General Secretary Prakash Karat.

''The Left parties will meet here tomorrow and discuss about the content and details of the letter. Only then we will respond,'' the leader added.

CPI National Secreatary D Raja said, ''The government is seeking just another meeting of the UPA-Left panel on the nuclear deal. We will take a collective view in tomorrow's meeting.'' The brief letter sent by the External Affairs Minister, who is also the Convenor of the UPA-Left panel on the deal, however, does not mention about the intention of the government to approach the IAEA but has proposed a meeting of the panel on July 10.

While RSP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Abani Roy too endorsed Mr Basu and Mr Raja's viewpoint, a report from Calcutta has quoted Forward Bloc General Secretary Debabrata Biswas as saying the Left parties would withdraw support to the government on the nuclear deal issue by July 10.

Mr Roy also said Mr Mukherjee's reply was unnsatisfatory.

Tomorrow's meeting assumes special political significance in view of the deepening chasm between the Manmohan Singh government and the Left parties over the nuclear deal and the sour relations between the two have further worsened with the Samajwadi Party, in a U-turn, supporting the nuclear pact and weakening the Left's position.

In a joint letter to the External Affairs Minister on Friday, the Left had sought ''to know definitely whether the government is proceeding to seek the approval of the Safeguards Agreement by the Board of Governors of the IAEA.'' They had set a three-day deadline for the reply.

UNI KSA SKB KN1816

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