Left lambasts PM for giving green signal to IAEA

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New Delhi, Jul 10 (UNI) The Left parties today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to explain to the nation why his government had given the green signal to the IAEA board on the Indo-US nuclear deal before winning the vote of confidence in Parliament.

''The Prime Minister owes an explanation to the nation as to why the government went back on public commitment made by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee yesterday, announcing that the government would go ahead on the deal after it demonstrates its majority support in the Lok Sabha,'' CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said at a press conference here.

Contrary to Mr Mukherjee's assurance that the government would approach the IAEA to complete the pending business only after the UPA wins a vote of confidence in Parliament, it went ahead with forwarding the draft text of India's specific safeguards agreement to the Agency's board of Governors.

The Agency secretariat said yesterday that at the request of the government, the Draft Agreement had been circulated to the 35-nation board ''for its consideration''.

Mr Karat's counterpart in CPI, A B Bardhan said the Prime Minister had given the green signal to the IAEA during his visit in Japan. ''What transpired in the meeting between him and US President George Bush which led to this going back on a public pledge?'' he asked.

At a press conference at the CPM headquarters at A K Gopalan Bhavan where a book titled ''Left Position on the Nuclear Deal'' was released, Mr Karat also wanted the Prime Minister to explain to the people of the country on what grounds it had described the text as classified when the Agency has said that there was no such restriction.

He asserted that the Left parties would make it impossible for the government to get the deal through. ''However, let's make it clear that the Left parties don't believe in horse-trading and political manoeuvring. We are not for purchasing votes. We will do so politically.'' Mr Bardhan observed that the position of Mr Mukherjee had become highly untenable as the government was doing something contrary to his public pronouncement.

Mr Karat, giving an overview of the political developments following the government's decision to go ahead to execute the deal, said, ''It is a very sad state of affairs. All sorts of concoctions are being made....what occurred in Japan in less than 24 hours after Mr Mukherjee's solemn assurance, we came to know that it had requested the IAEA for necessary follow up.

''It is very shocking that the people of the country came to know about the government's latest betrayal from American websites,'' he added.

Mr Bardhan said the countrymen did not deserve this treatment.

''Please don't ridicule them in this manner'' he added.

Forward Bloc General Secretary Devbrat Biswas said the manner in which the government was indulging in 'jod-thod' (horse-trading and political manoeuvring), it appeared that the government was really in doubt over its majority in the House.

Mr Bardhan went to the extent of saying, ''The government may even fall for want of majority.'' The book is based on notes exchanged in the UPA-Left Committee on Indo-US Nuclear cooperation. It begins with Left's statement on their stand on the deal on August 7, 2007 up to June 25, 2008 when the last meeting of the committee took place.

Mr Karat said the information in the book was vital from sovereignty point of view and national interest even as it did not contain the text of government's negotiations with the IAEA. ''But now when we have got it, we will include it in the next edition.'' UNI KSA SLD PK KN1449

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