With UPA constituents disfavouring early polls, the Congress on Friday indicated a softening of stance on the Indo-US nuclear deal, saying the Government would not move ahead on the issue without the consent of the Left parties.
Insisting that the UPA was "not a one-issue government", Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed also said there would be "no loss of face" if the agreement does not happen.
"Till now, we have made forward movement on the deal with the consent of the UPA-Left committee. It is our commitment that in future also we will try our best to take our Left friends along," Ahmed said.
He was responding to a specific question on whether it would be a loss of face for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh if the deal does not happen.
Ahmed also denied reports that the Prime Minister has offered to resign on the nuclear deal issue, saying, "There is no such thing. Such kind of speculation should not be there. The Prime Minister has full backing of the party, of the Congress president and of the UPA allies."
The palpable change in the party's tone is in contrast to indications over the last couple of days that the Government had upped the ante on the deal and would go ahead with it despite the Left opposition.
Ahmed did not elaborate on what would happen if the Left continued to be adamant in the June 25 meeting of the UPA-Left committee.
However, Congress sources said the Government was unlikely to go ahead with the deal if the Left did not give its consent.