Is there a thaw in the Left parties' attitude on the nuclear question?
The CPI on Monday said it will consider allowing the Centre to go to the IAEA for a safeguards agreement on the nuclear deal as long as no agreement is signed before clearing it with the Left.
<b1>CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat also struck a conciliatory note by saying that neither side (Congress or the Left) was adamant on the issue, while expressing the hope that “something would come out” of ongoing talks on the subject between the two sides. He, however, maintained there was no change in his party’s position that the deal should not be operationalised before the UPA-Left panel comes out with its findings.
Responding to a question on whether the Left will allow the government to go to the IAEA without signing anything, CPI leader AB Bardhan was quoted as saying: “Yes, it can be allowed, provided that they come back before initialing it before sending it to the Board of Governors. They (the government) should come and if at that time also we say no, nothing doing, then they should stop”.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the two-day meeting of the CPM politburo, Karat clarified he was not talking about the possibility of a consensus on the nuclear question. "If there is no possibility, I will not say we are going to meet again. I am hopeful something will come out," he said.
Pointing out that the government did not go the IAEA in September or October, Karat said the government was "not adamant" on the issue, while the Left was also trying not to be adamant. He reiterated the party demand for a discussion in Parliament on the deal.
The apparent softening of stand comes two days after a crucial luncheon meeting attended by PM Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Pranab Mukherjee, Karat and Bardhan to break the stalemate on the issue before it is debated in the winter session of Parliament starting November 15.
(With inputs from Saroj Nagi)