At Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s iftar party on Saturday evening, two subjects dominated the discourse: mid-term elections in India and Pervez Musharraf’s re-election as President of Pakistan.
<b1>“Why should we be concerned?’’ Congress president Sonia Gandhi counter-posed when asked whether she was concerned about the possibility of early elections being forced by the UPA-Left differences over the Indo-US nuclear deal. “If there are elections we will face it,” she said.
Still recovering from a recent surgery, the PM avoided getting into details on the ongoing dialogue with the Left. On being asked about the “inevitability’’ of elections, the PM said “nothing is inevitable”. And will the Left withdraw support? “I am not an astrologer,’’ he quipped.
But he expressed hope that the outcome of the dialogue with the Left on the deal would be “constructive." The only prominent Left leader at the iftar, Sitaram Yechury reaffirmed CPM’s stand that the deal should not be operationalised by opening talks on India-specific IAEA safeguards.