The UPA-Left political committee would meet in New Delhi on Monday for the seventh round of talks to settle their differences on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal. But there seems to be little scope for rapprochement between the two sides on the contentious issue.
<b1>A Communist Party of India (M) booklet released earlier this month, titled ‘Policy Interventions by the Left Parties’, explicitly states that the Left would make it clear to the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that it cannot go any further with the deal. “Once the safeguards agreement is brought before the UPA-Left Committee, the Left will take the stand that government should not proceed further to finalise the safeguards agreement or go to the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The Left parties will work to ensure that the deal does not go ahead,” the document says.
The fight, the document says, ‘to block the nuclear deal will strengthen the struggle to prevent India’s strategic alliance with the US and help in rallying broader sections in the struggle against US imperialism and for an independent foreign policy.’
The document also lists issues like NREGA, Tribal Bill, retail and labour laws in which the Communists’ had intervened since the UPA came to power in 2004.
Left sources suggested that they are not expecting an open statement from the Government that the deal has fallen through.
Instead, the UPA-Left panel would meet again after the Left parties read the IAEA draft and are ready with their opinion on it. Given the scheduled Party Conferences of the CPI and CPM later this month, the parleys are expected to continue into April. Since the understanding behind the UPA-Left panel is that “the findings of the Committee will be taken into account before the operationalisation of the India-US Civilian Nuclear Cooperation Agreement,” the panel has to arrive at some conclusion.
With the Left showing no signs of being convinced, the ‘findings’ of the panel becomes difficult to reach, especially within the deadline set by the Bush administration.
For the Left parties, the IAEA agreement is an incidental issue because they are more apprehensive about the impact of the Hyde Act on uninterrupted fuel supply to India.
The tone of the policy document also echoes the stand taken by the CPM in a recent editorial in People’s Democracy, titled ‘Turning Point has arrived.’ It stated: “If the government thinks that after arriving at an agreed text with the IAEA on a safeguards agreement they can proceed to take the next steps for operationalising the agreement, they are mistaken…The future of this government depends on the decision they will take.”