N-deal: UPA-Left Committee to meet again

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New Delhi, Sept 19: The United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-Left Committee on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal will meet here again today.

The meeting assumes significance in the light of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) asking the Centre on Tuesday not to operationalise the deal for at least six months.

CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said that the government should not move ahead on the agreement.

“When the deal is being opposed in the entire country, when majority of the Parliament is opposing the deal, then, in democracy, the government should listen to the Parliament," said Karat.

He said that the country would face a political crisis if the government did not hold the deal back for at least six months.

"We only want them to stop for six months. In next six months, discussion can be held in this matter during the next session of the Parliament," he said.

“Otherwise, the country will face political crisis, which we don't want," he warned.

Karat's statement is in contrast to West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who on Monday favoured experts' opinion that nuclear power is inevitable.

Earlier, the Left parties had received the Central Government's 15-page response to the concerns expressed by it on the deal. The Left parties had sent a five-page note to the government.

The committee held its first meeting on September 11 with the members outlining the agenda for the discussion. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee had said that broad issues for the ongoing discussions were framed in the meeting.

The committee framed the issue following broad issues for discussion, implications of the Hyde Act on Indo-nuclear 123 Agreement and on the self-reliance in the nuclear sector, implications on foreign policy and security cooperation.

Meanwhile, Karat has said that his party will discuss the identified issues and the time-frame can be decided then.

The 15-member panel, which is headed by Mukherjee, comprises of Union Cabinet Ministers, A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Saifuddin Soz, Prithviraj Chavan, Lalu Prasad, T R Baalu and Sharad Pawar; and six Left leaders Prakash Karat, Sitaram Yechury, A B Bardhan, D Raja, Debabrata Biswas and T J Chandrachoodan.

The panel was named after Left, which provides crucial support to the UPA Government, rejected the bilateral nuclear deal with the US, and warned the Government of serious consequences if it went ahead with operationalising the Agreement.

The Government had said that the agreement will be operationalised after taking into account the committee's findings.


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