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Congress, Left try to break nuclear logjam

The Congress and the Left have bought some time to end the impasse over the N-deal, reports Saroj Nagi. PM on N-deal: key points

india Updated: Aug 14, 2007 02:38 IST
Saroj Nagi

The Congress and the Left parties have bought some time to end the impasse over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal on which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made a statement in Parliament on Monday. The Left, BJP-led NDA and Third Front are virulently opposed to the 123 Agreement.

The parliamentary debate on the deal, originally planned for August 14 and 16, will now be held after the CPM Politburo meeting from August 17-18. It is tentatively slotted for August 20 — two days before Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe addresses Parliament.

Meanwhile, efforts would be on to keep the crisis from spinning out of control. On Monday, the CPM’s Sitaram Yechury met Pranab Mukherjee, Leader of the House in Lok Sabha. Both were tight-lipped about the meeting but a Left leader said the crisis could snowball if the impasse continues over the next couple of days.

A PTI report said the communists were considering pulling out of the UPA-Left coordination committee though they may not withdraw support to the government.

The four Left parties — CPM, CPI, RSP and FB — will meet on Tuesday to take a position on the PM’s statement which they heard attentively (before walking out) amid vociferous protests by the NDA and the Third Front in the Lok Sabha.

In the Rajya Sabha, the PM merely tabled the statement amid a walkout by non-UPA parties. Buoyed by the chasms in the UPA-Left camp, the BJP’s L.K. Advani contacted his ideological adversary, the CPM’s Prakash Karat, with a draft resolution for a debate entailing voting in the Lok Sabha. But Left sources said Karat rejected the proposal, conveying that they would decide on their parliamentary tactics “on their own.”