Listen to Basu, reconsider withdrawal: Paswan to Left

July 8th, 2008 - 8:30 pm ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, July 8 (IANS) Having “forcefully” put across its view on the India-US nuclear deal, the Left must now heed the advice of Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and reconsider its decision to stop supporting the government, Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said Tuesday. “The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government will survive despite the Left withdrawal, but I would like to appeal to the Left to reconsider its position in order to save the secular forces in the country,” said Paswan, who is in London on his way back from a meeting of the International Dalit and Minorities Forum in New York.

“This withdrawal is not good for the health of the Left parties or the secular forces — it is not in India’s interests,” Paswan, a senior member of the UPA government, told IANS.

“They have very forcefully placed their point of view before the government for the last two years. But the Left knows that this is a secular government - it is not an NDA government. This government wants to strengthen secularism,” he added

“After all, even (former West Bengal chief minister) Jyoti Basu has said that the Left should not do anything to weaken the UPA government,” said Paswan, a Dalit leader whose Lok Jan Shakti Party has four Lok Sabha MPs.

Paswan said if there were fresh parliamentary elections, no party will return with a majority. “The Left will once again have to consider which coalition to support.”

He said the India-US nuclear deal was for “civilian purposes only,” without any military or strategic aspect to it.

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