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UPA-Left meet on Indo-US N-deal on Oct 22

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Oct 21: The crucial meeting between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left parties will take place here on Monday to end the impasse over the much-touted Indo-US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The UPA-Left Committee set up to look into the concerns expressed by the Communist leaders on the nuclear deal held its last meeting on October 9.

On Oct 20, Communist Party of India (CPI) General Secretary A B Bardhan asked the government to clear its stand on the deal. His remarks came in the wake of a statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the bilateral deal was very much alive and a consensus was needed to be built over it.

"We do not know what exactly the UPA representatives will tell us. But we expect them to clearly say that deal is off or that it has been put on hold," Bardhan said.

The CPI leader also said that the Left"s stand was clear and the UPA must make its stand clear on the issue.

"As far as we are concerned, our stand is clear. We think the government has also to some extent realised it. The allies have also realised it. Therefore, they were compelled to say that it is not a one-issue government," Bardhan said.

"If the government feels that it is not a one-issue government, then it should not make it (the nuclear deal) the sole issue for deciding its fate," he added.

According to some Left leaders, as of now, consensus has not been made on even a single point. The Central Government has committed to take into consideration the findings of the committee.

Earlier, some of the UPA coalition partners, particularly the Sharad Pawar led NCP, Lalu Yadav's RJD and M Karunanidhi led DMK had expressed their reservations about the deal after the Left's opposition to the nuclear agreement reached its zenith, leading to speculation that the Communists may withdraw their support to the Central Government.

Congress party president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said recently at a rally in Haryana that those opposing the deal "were not only against the Congress, but also against the development of the country."

However, at an interaction at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, she indicated that the Congress was unwilling to sacrifice the government for the deal.

During the same summit, the Prime Minister also said that the failure to carry the deal through would not be "the end of life" even though it would be a disappointment.

The Left has been insisting that the deal would make India subservient to US interests and asked the Centre not to go ahead with the 'operationalisation' of the deal.

They have also asked the Congress-led UPA Government not to go ahead with the talks for the India-specific agreement with the IAEA that are needed for the operationalisation of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Last week, US President George Bush called up Manmohan Singh and discussed the Indo-US nuclear agreement.

The Prime Minister also explained to Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the bilateral nuclear cooperation agreement.



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