Hours ahead of the crucial meeting of the UPA-Left committee to resolve differences on the Indo-US nuclear deal, top Congress and CPI(M) leaders on Wednesday launched last-minute consultations in an effort to break the logjam over the issue.
CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat drove down to the residence of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee this morning to hold discussions on the issue that has created a stand-off between the government and the Left allies.
Defence Minister AK Antony was also present when Karat met Mukherjee, who returned from an official visit to Australia late last night.
After the talks with Karat, Mukherjee and Antony went to meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi to apprise her on the deliberations.
The key meeting of the UPA-Left committee will be held as scheduled, sources said, putting at rest speculation that it would be postponed.
They said today's meeting could be a brief affair and the UPA and the Left leaders may announce another date for the talks.
Congress sources said that at today's meeting, the government would make it clear that it wanted to go to IAEA for the safeguards agreement and would like to persuade the Left on the move. It would also assure the Left that it would come back to the Committee before going to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
The UPA-Left committee was earlier scheduled to meet on June 18. However, it was postponed to June 25, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apparently keen that the Government should go ahead with the deal but the Left allies unrelenting in their opposition to the agreement.