In a scathing attack on the UPA government, the Left on Monday accused it of "outsourcing" foreign policy to the United States and bluntly told the Congress that its coalition has lost trustworthiness due to "its deals".
Participating in the discussion on the confidence motion in Lok Sabha, CPI(M) leader Mohd Salim said that the Left had not supported the Government to go ahead with the nuclear deal, the IAEA safeguards agreement and strategic alliance with the US.
The support was on the basis of a Common Minimum Programme (CMP), he said adding the governmnet must realise "there has been no minimum programme with (US) President Bush."
Salim alleged that the government has resorted to "diplomatic process outsourcing" to the US.
Attacking the Congress for faulting the Left for withdrawing support to the government, he said the question is not only of trust, "but the trustworthiness of the government."
"The performance of the Government becomes fast when it comes to the nuclear deal," CPI(M) leader Mohd Salim said likening it to taking of dope by cricketers for enhancing their performance.
He regretted that the speed and performance of the government slowed down drastically when it came to issues like price rise and implementation of Sachar Commission.
He also accused the ruling alliance of indulging in horstrading as also had a dig at the Samajwadi Party for supporting the UPA. "Along with a wholesale deal, some retail deals are also taking place," Salim said.
Salim claimed the government was only interested in the 123 Agreement but not in dealing with the situation when the inflation had touched "almost 12.3 per cent".
The CPI(M) leader accused the Congress-led coalition of resorting to overdraft from the "debit card" made available by the Left parties.
Criticising the opponents of the nuclear deal, Samajwadi Party's Ram Gopal Yadav said while Leader of Opposition L K Advani was "in a hurry" to become the next Prime Minister, the Left had also joined hands with him.
In a sarcastic tone, he said "but now there are two claimants to the PM's post. One Advani and the other who they (the Left) proposed," apparently referring to UP Chief Minister and BSP chief Mayawati.
On a lighter note, he said Advani was "Lal" (red), referring to the BJP leader's name, and he had joined hands with the "Reds" (the Left) to oppose the government.
On this, the Speaker said "Lal kuchch kharab nahin hai, achcha hi hai" (red is not bad, it is good), leading to peals of laughter in the House.
The SP member criticised the Left parties for withdrawing their support saying "you cannot absolve yourself of the responsibility of running the government for the past four years."
He said the trends suggested that about 60 per cent of the sitting MPs do not get re-elected and so it was in their interest to abstain and not vote against the motion.
Defending the nuclear deal, Devendra Prasad Yadav of RJD said the BJP and its leader Advani were in a state of a "shock" with emergence of Mayawati as a national leader.
He wondered how the Left and the BJP were coming together when they never see eye-to-eye.
He said while the BJP was showing so much concern over the Amarnath issue, its government in Rajasthan was "destroying the land of lord Krishna" by allowing mafia to do illegal mining.
Several MPs had met the Prime Minister protesting against the destruction of the "Goverdhan Parbat".
Yadav's comments triggered sharp protests from the BJP members, leading to heated exchanges between the two sides.
Yadav said if a demand was made to bar charge-sheeted MPs in the confidence vote, then BJP leaders L K Advani and Kalyan Singh should also be kept out.
When Railway Minister Lalu Prasad intervened, he was interrupted by the BJP members leading to further commotion.
An agitated Prasad said, he was ready for "Mahabharata". He said as a minister he has a right to intervene and would not be cowed down by BJP members.
"We are ready for Mahabharata. It will start right here," he said.
Brajesh Pathak (BSP) said there were "dealers behind the nuclear deal". When the US itself has almost abandoned developing nuclear energy, why was the Indian government so keen on pursuing the deal, he asked.
There were other more pressing issues facing the country, including inflation, he said and blamed the Prime Minister for the price rise.
"The Prime Minister is directly responsible for inflation," he said.
Intervening during the discussion, DMK leader and senior minister T R Baalu lashed out at those who spoke against the nuclear deal and said parties voting against the government were anti-poor.
"If they (opposition) vote against us, it means they are against the poorest of the poor in the country," he said.
To drive home his point that the UPA government stood for 'aam admi', he said despite steep rise in global crude oil prices, the poor has been spared from its burden as the price of kerosene has not been touched.
Maintaining the nuclear deal was good for the country, he said parties opposing it were doing so on ideological grounds and hoped Left parties would extend their support to the UPA in future too.
He said nuclear power was required to tide over the acute power shortage in the country.
Anant Geete (Shiv Sena), while opposing the motion, expressed grave concern over inflation which, he said, might touch 15-16 per cent in the near future.
Interestingly, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh was present in the Speaker's Gallery when Geete spoke about the power situation in the state and said there was laodshedding for 14 hours a day and soon it could be 16 hours.
When Geete cited instances of refusal by banks to give loans to farmers and threatened to resign from the Lok Sabha if proved wrong, NCP leader and Union Minister Praful Patel challenged him and wanted to know if he really meant it.
Flaying the Left parties, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said the Government did not need any "certificate or sermon" from anybody as it knows what was good for the country.
Taking a dig at the BJP, he said though the NDA and the Left had "joined hands" to topple the Government, the saffron party should remember that "Left's Prime Ministerial candidate is not L K Advani but Mayawati".
He compared the Indo-US nuclear deal with the opening of the telecom sector during Rajiv Gandhi's regime and said the country would never forgive if the deal was not operationalised.
Alleging political opportunism was being used to bring down the Government, Sharma said "the Government and the Prime Minister had always taken Parliament and the country into confidence before going ahead with the deal".
"The deal was entered into to end India's nuclear isolation. India is an equal partner in the deal... There is a clear clause on separation of military and civilian nuclear facilities.." he said.
"Nuclear energy is the cleanest source of energy. The country needs it and the Government will go ahead with it," the Minister said.
He said former National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra had endorsed the deal. "As an emerging power, we have such alliances with France, Russia and Brazil."