The Left is for indigenous nuclear power but the India-US civilian nuclear deal would undermine India’s homegrown nuclear programme, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said in the Capital on Saturday.
Talking in context of the controversy generated by West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s and party patriarch Jyoti Basu’s recent remarks that nuclear power is good for India, Karat unequivocally said the CPM is in favour of nuclear power.
“`We are for nuclear power. People oppose it. There are opposing views within the party as well. We respect their views. But we had discussions within the party. We will have a nuclear power plant (in west Bengal),’’ the CPM general secretary said.
Karat added that it was being wrongly projected that the West Bengal leadership has differences with the central leadership on the nuclear deal. He said that both Bhattacharjee and Basu had spoken on nuclear power but not on the deal.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), a public sector company, would develop the planned nuclear power plant in West Bengal. The cost of the power generated from the plant would be cheap, as indigenous technology would be used.
But Karat said that if the government operationalises the India-US nuclear deal, it would undermine the country’s indigenous three-stage nuclear power programme.
The CPM leader was addressing a packed auditorium of students at the School of Arts and Aesthetics in Jawaharlal Nehru University on Saturday. On his way to the auditorium, Karat, a former JNU student himself, also faced some protests by Congress-affiliated NSUI members, who waved pro-deal posters and burnt his effigy.
Keeping the ante up against the deal, Karat said the Left parties would never support the Congress-led UPA government’s efforts to operationalise the nuclear deal with the US, which would make India a subordinate ally of America.
Karat said that implementing the deal would mean 40 years of blackmailing by the US. He added that history and posterity would hold the Left equally responsible for if that happens. “That we will not accept,” he said.