Left-UPA coordination panel to hammer out Iran formula today

New Delhi, Nov 20 | Updated: Nov 21 2005, 05:30am hrs
In the wake of mounting pressure on the Centre on the Iran nuclear issue from the Left parties, a crucial meeting of the Left-UPA co-ordination committee has been convened here on Monday, which will try to work on a face-saving formula and avoid a confrontation on the issue.

CPI-Ms Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechuri, D Raja of the CPI and the RSPs Abani Roy will be attending the meeting on behalf of the Left parties, while Ms Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with some other senior party leaders would represent the UPA.

Speaking to FE, CPI national secretary D Raja said, The main issue of discussion at the co-ordination meet will be Indias position at the IAEA. We maintain our stand that the government should abstain from any move that impacts Indo-Iran relations.

Meanwhile, the Left parties on Sunday reiterated their criticism and diasagreement with the UPA leadership on the issue. If the Centre decides to vote against Iran, it should be viewed seriously, as the focus should be on Indian interests, without succumbing to outside pressures, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat said.

But despite their stiff public posturing, the Left parties have already given the government relief from the constant threat of forcing a vote in Lok Sabha on the issue. Left leaders Basudeb Acharia and Gurudas Dasgupta have given notice for a Lok Sabha discussion on Indias stand on the Iran vote at the IAEA under rule 193, which only allows a short discussion but no voting.

Last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called on CPI-M veteran Harkishan Singh Surjeet. He is believed to have requested him to find a way out that would prevent any confrontation on the Iran issue. Later, Mr Yechuri also called on Ms Sonia Gandhi and conveyed the Left stand to her.

Mr Prakash Karat had recently said, The Prime Minister is directly responsible for Indias vote against Iran at the IAEA. He had also called the move as a shift from the policy of non-alignment and compromise on foreign policy.

Apart from the Iran issue, the issue of FDI in retail and womens reservation bill are also expected to be raised by the Left parties.