Left begins parleys over government’s tough stance on n-deal(To go with ‘It’s now or never, government advises Left’)

June 18th, 2008 - 11:57 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) The Left parties Wednesday began consultations among themselves and with the Congress’ allies in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) after the government upped the ante on the India-US civilian nuclear deal. The four Left parties led by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) that prop up the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to hold meetings of their respective apex bodies ahead of next week’s meeting the UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal.

The committee’s meeting scheduled for Wednesday was postponed and is now slated for June 25 or June 26.

After waiting for the Left parties’ nod to sign an India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - a step necessary to make the nuclear deal operational, the government Wednesday virtually threw down the gauntlet to the communist parties - and told them that if it does not get their consent they should be prepared for the inevitable.

The Left parties have asserted that they would not support the government’s move to finalise the agreement with the UN nuclear watchdog as they were not privy to its text.

After the committee’s meeting was postponed, leaders of the four Left parties met here to discuss their next course of action. CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat told the other Left leaders that the communists could win over the Congress’ allies within the UPA to bring pressure on the party against going to the IAEA, Left sources said.

Later in the evening, Karat met central minister and DMK leader T.R. Baalu.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her 10, Janpath residence and discussed the Left response.

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