The Left continued to adopt a hard stance on the India-US nuclear deal on Monday, a day after two of its top leaders met DMK chief M Karunanidhi, and repeated the threat of “parting ways” with the UPA if the government even approached atomic watchdog IAEA.
Amid speculation about whether the Samajwadi Party will go with the UPA, in case of a Left pullout, the CPM reminded Mulayam Singh Yadav’s party that a large part of its support base — Muslims — are not with the deal. Asked about the possibility of SP going with the UPA on the deal, party politburo member M.K. Pandhe told reporters: “Mulayam Singh will have to think twice because the deal does not find favour among the Muslims and his party has a large base among them.” Pandhe said it would not be easy for the UPA to isolate the Left on the deal.
The Left itself has a sizeable Muslim base in West Bengal and Kerala — two of the three states it governs.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, who met Karunanidhi in Chennai with CPI national secretary D. Raja on Sunday, told HT: “Our position is clear. They (the government) can’t proceed. If they go to the IAEA board, we part ways.” He conveyed a position that has not changed since June 18 — the day the ninth meeting of UPA-Left committee on the nuclear deal was put off for a week.
While the government has insisted that it be allowed to go to the IAEA Board of Governors for an India-specific safeguards agreement, the Left has maintained it would rather withdraw support to the UPA than allow that.
While some of the UPA allies have said the government should find a way to take the Left along, the communists have only stuck to their guns, hardening their stance every day. Left sources say they have also been touch with different political parties including some key UPA allies and even the SP and Mayawati's BSP that announced withdrawal of support to the UPA last week.
On Monday, Karat had another meeting with NCP chief and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar -- considered a powerful UPA ally along with Karunanidhi and RJD's Lalu Yadav. Karat and other Left leaders have been in touch with all three ever since the UPA and Left started to drift apart on the deal.