Left wants N-deal to have sense of House

New Delhi, July 30 | Updated: Jul 31 2006, 05:30am hrs
The CPI(M) may have subtly dropped its demand for a formal House resolution on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal last week, but the party on Sunday denied relief to the government by demanding a sense of Parliament that should lay out parameters of the deal conforming to Indias interests.

A two-day meeting of the partys politbureau that ended here on Sunday made it clear that a discussion on the issue could not be deferred at all, especially in the backdrop of the US Congress passing the related legislation last week. As of now, the government has only said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be making a suo motu statement on the matter on Thursday.

People of India are asking the legitimate question: How is it that an issue which concerns the vital interests of India is being discussed threadbare and decisions taken in the US Congress, while the Indian Parliament does not even scrutinise the matter, a statement issued by the politbureau said.

Buttressing the point further, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters that it would of no use debating the issue later after the US Congress adopted the relevant law. He said Parliament had the sovereign right to discuss the agreement if the US Congress could do so, clause by clause.

The Lefts stand restricts the elbow space for the UPA leadership as the thinking in government earlier had been that India should take a view only after the final picture was clear. Singh himself had indicated so when he said the end-product would be a key factor in determining Indias stand.

Karat, however, hinted that the Left parties were working to try and persuade the government to devise a way to express the sense of the House. We are in touch with government representatives in Parliament and working on how this can be done. We are talking to the government as well as the Congress party he said.

On including the BJP in the consultations, he maintained it was the governments responsibility to consult all parties as it was an issue of national importance. Though we were totally opposed to the BJPs pro-US policies when they were in office, we had then spoken to the BJP leadership on having a resolution in Parliament against sending troops to Iraq, Karat said.

The BJP had last week criticised the CPI(M) for changing their stand in between by dropping the demand for a House resolution on the nuclear deal.

Maintaining that there were nine areas in which new conditionalities were added to the deal by the US House of Representatives and various House committees,

Karat said it was, therefore, imperative that the parameters on which the agreement should be based were discussed in Parliament.

These additional conditions were not part of the July 2005 agreement, he added.