Is Yechury in London too? - Arun Jaitley

June 24th, 2008 - 9:40 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, June 24 (IANS) Thousands of miles from nervous discussions back home on the prospects of an early election and the polemical nuclear deal with the US, four key leaders spanning the Indian political spectrum are here in London, all for different reasons. With just days to go before a key meeting of the UPA allies, informed sources who did not want to be named said the British capital is playing host to Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal (Congress), Sitaram Yechury, a senior member of the CPI-M politburo, and BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley.

A fourth, veteran Congressman Arjun Singh, is in Europe and is expected sometime soon in London, the sources said. London tends to buzz with important visitors in the summers, when temperatures soar in Delhi.

While Yechury was supposed to be in London for meetings of the Indian Workers Association (IWA-GB), a left-leaning Britain-based group, one of its activists told IANS they had postponed their meetings until after June 25, the day of the crucial meeting of the UPA-Left nuclear committee that is expected to decide the fate of the Manmohan Singh government.

An Indian-origin activist said Yechury is “somewhere in London.”

Sibal was mentioned as one of the guests at a party thrown by Indian-origin industrialist Lord Paul at London Zoo Sunday.

Before leaving New Delhi, Sibal was involved in the political tussle with the government’s Left allies over going ahead with the India-specific safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that the Communists are blocking on the plea that it would in effect open the door to the India-US nuclear deal which is anathema to them.

Meanwhile, Jaitley is in London to attend a conference on India and Pakistan being organised by Tehelka, the Indian media group.

“I had no idea Yechury’s in town. What is he doing? Where is he?” said Jaitley at the launch of an art gallery sponsored by Swraj Paul Monday.

Jaitley told IANS he had no plans to meet Yechury in London, but did add: “He is a respected political colleague, and we do meet and discuss things.”

Arjun Singh is said to be on a private visit that will take him to Dusseldorf in Germany, Paris and, possibly, Britain.

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