N-deal: Cong, Left heading for showdown

Written by AM Jigeesh | New Delhi, Jun 24 | Updated: Jun 26 2008, 03:43am hrs
With Left parties refusing to give any elbow room to the UPA government on the nuclear issue, the two sides appeared headed for a showdown on Wednesday.

A day ahead of the meeting, the CPM leadership, stepping up their offensive against the Centre, indicated that if the government officially communicates its intention to go ahead with the deal on Wednesday, the Left parties will not take much time to meet President Pratibha Patil and hand over the letter of withdrawal to her.

The Left also rejected proposals mooted by UPA alliance leaders to find a wayout, by allowing the government to go to the IAEA with India specific safeguards agreement in return for a commitment that the deal would not be operationalised.

An emergency meeting of the CPM politburo will be convened on July 29. The CPIs national executive and the UNPAs meeting are scheduled on July 3. A final decision is likely on the issue before the Prime Ministers visit to Japan to attend the G8 summit on July 7.

We will break all our relationship with the government if it decides to move ahead with the deal. We have already said that a government with our support cannot sign this deal, a senior CPM leader told FE in condition of anonymity.

When asked about the tactic the party will be adopting during the meeting, he said: Now, it is up to the government and the Congress to take a position. Our stand has not been changed. We hope the government will go abiding the assurance that the next step regarding the deal will be taken only after the Left-UPA panel comes into any conclusion on it.

Meanwhile, the political level discussions on the issue continued on Tuesday also. TDP leader Rammohan Rao met CPM general secretary Prakash Karat. SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is in the Capital, had a telephonic conversation with Karat in the morning. There is no change in our position. The UNPA is holding a meeting on July 3. We will decide the further course of action in the meeting, Rao told FE. In his conversation with Karat Yadav also had reportedly said that any new strategies will be adopted jointly after discussions within the UNPA. UPA leaders also held discussions with Congress leaders. DMK leader TR Baalu called on Sonia Gandhi and held parleys with her.

There are also chances of holding one more meeting of the Left-UPA panel in a weeks time, if the government wants to buy some more time to hold parleys with the Left. CPM leaders are also hopeful that Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi can impart some sense to the Congress top brass. At present Karunanidhis scheduled visit is on July 11.

A meeting of the CPM central committee held in May has already asked its state committees to start preparing for the elections. The formation of booth-level committees will be over in Kerala, Tripura, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh by July 15. We are always ready for an election. But if an election happens over the deal, Congress will be the sole responsible party for it, the senior CPM leader said.