Left decide to part company with UPA govt

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New Delhi, Jul 8 (UNI) Anguished at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement to proceed with the Indo-US nuclear deal by approaching the IAEA, the Left parties today resolved to withdraw their outside support to the UPA government, ending the 50-month-old alliance.

The Left parties have sought an appointment tomorrow morning with President Pratibha Patil, who is presently in Mumbai, to formally submit the letter of withdrawal and urge her to ask the Manmohan Singh-led government to seek a vote of confidence.

The Left parties who have been at loggerheads with the government over the nuclear deal for quite a long time, also rejected the proposal of Mr Pranab Mukherjee, convenor of the UPA-Left panel on the deal, who in a reply to the Left query, proposed to them to hold a meeting on the panel on July 10 to discuss the pending issues.

The panel, at its meeting on June 25, had decided to hold another meeting to record the findings of the Committee but had dispersed without fixing the date.

The unanimous decision to withdraw support was taken at an hour-long meeting of the four Left parties held at the CPI(M) headquarters A K Gopalan Bhawan.

CPI (M) General Secretary Prakash Karat, just before the meeting at 1130 hrs, said, ''Now when the Prime Minister has announced the decision to go to IAEA, what is left there?'' At the end of the hour-long meeting, Mr Karat, in the company of his counterpart in CPI A B Bardhan and others read out a one-page communique sent this morning to Mr Mukherjee.

In a reply on why the Left parties have chosen to decide on withdrawing support when the Prime Minister is abroad, Mr Bardhan retorted, ''Why should we wait for the PM when he has chosen to ignore us and making an announcement on foreign soil?'' Later, Mr Bardhan told UNI that ordinarily they would have waited for the Prime Minister to come back but were forced to take decision in view of the Prime Minister's ''overzealousness'' to please the United States.'' Reacting to the Prime Minister's assertion that the numbers are on his side in the House, Mr Bardhan said that was why they wanted Dr singh to seek a vote of confidence. ''Isse pata chal jaega ki uske pas kitne MPs hain.'' (This will confirm the number of MPs on his side), he added.

To another query if the Left felt unhappy with the recent political developments and the role of the ruling party in ditching them, Mr Bardhan said ''nothing of the sort. We knew, that it is going to happen.'' The Left parties have been moving in this direction for the last few months.

The communique signed by all the general secretaries of the Left parties, pointed towards the sixth meeting of the panel on November 16, 2007 where it was decided that the government will proceed with the talks and the outcome will be presented to the Committee for its consideration before it finalises its findings.

Till now the outcome of the talks, that is the Safeguards Agreements negotiated with the IAEA secretariat, has not been made available to the Committee. Without the text, the Committee cannot come to any findings.

The Left parties said the UPA had refused to provide the text to the members of the Committee, ''no purpose will be served with a meeting on July 10.

''As you are aware, the Left parties had decided that if the government goes to the IAEA Board of Governors, they will withdraw support. In view of the Prime Minister's announcement, that time has come,'' Mr Bardhan said.


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