Unfazed by UPA response, Left to seek clarifications

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (UNI) Unfazed by the government rejecting their viewpoint on the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Left parties are all set to exchange notes on written statements made by the two sides on the pact at the UPA-Left Political Panel's meet tomorrow and may later submit the additional objections.

Left leaders told UNI that they would give their response to the UPA's 12-page note, claiming that ''India's deal is better than that of China and that the government has protected the country's interests admirably during the negotiations on the final civilian agreement with the US,'' at the political committee's formal second meet tomorrow.

CPI leaders A B Bardhan and Shamim Faizi said other additional objections on utility of uranium for the reactors, government's attitude towards the three-phased nuclear projects of Indian origin, alternative sources of energy and the cost of nuclear energy, among other things, will be submitted later.

On projection of ''futility'' and ''end of road'' to the Panel in view of the widening gap between the UPA-Left alliance on the issue, the CPI leaders said: ''Tomorrow is just the second meeting of the Panel and concrete issues will definitely be taken up.'' ''People should wait for many more meetings,'' they said in response to a section of media reports foreseeing the''collapse'' of the Left-UPA talks following the ''irreconciable'' approach adopted by both the parties.

While CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury had said all four Left parties would first study the UPA note threadbare before submitting the reply, party General Secretary Prakash Karat today told the government to wait for at least six months before proceeding further and debate the issue in Parliament as majority of MPs ''are against the deal''.

Forward Bloc General Secretary Debavrat Biswas, seeking to downplay the differences between the two sides, said the Panel had just begun its work.

''The agenda of the Panel has been finalised and we are taking up the items one by one,'' he added.

Mr Biswas hoped that in the course of discussions, truth would come out in the larger interest of the nation. ''But it is highly deplorable that during the last 60 years of the country's Independence, this is for the first time that the consensus on foreign policy has eluded. This challenge must be met through democratic process and we can again discuss the issue in the Winter session of Parliament.'' The Panel's first formal meeting was held on September 11 wherein the schedule for meetings, issues and procedures was finalised.

The Left parties are also likely to demand at the meet the time schedule for finalising the work of the Panel. In this connection, Mr Karat raised a similar demand here today when he asked the government to ensure that the Panel must be asked to finish its task in another three to four weeks.


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