Hours after the Left rejected the Indo-US nuclear deal, a worried Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up the Left leadership on Tuesday night to allay their apprehensions. But he also made it clear to them that the deal would not be renegotiated.
Singh, who separately spoke to CPI (M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, politiburo member, Sitaram Yehcury, CPI general secretary, AB Bardhan and Rajya Sabha member D Raja, reiterated that the nine objections that the Left had raised had been resolved.
<b1>The 123 agreement, the PM told the Left, has been approved by the Cabinet and though the Government would once again attempt to address Left’s concerns, there was no question of going back on it. The Prime Minister is likely to make a statement in Parliament on the issue on Monday.
Yechury, speaking to HT, said that the Left told the PM that they were concerned with provisions in the India-specific Henry Hyde act, which gives sweeping powers to the US President and US Congress in context of the deal. ``The 123 agreement cannot be seen in isolation from the Hyde Act, Yechury said.
But the question is that if the Government has decided to go through with the deal, what options do the Left have to register their protest?
The Government does not need the Parliament’s – or for that matter the approval of the 61 Left MPs in Lok Sabha -- endorsement in going ahead with the bilateral deal. In that context, the Left’s resistance would add up to nothing if the PM decides not to heed any opposition. Karat admitted on Tuesday to the limited influence Parliament has on the deal but added that the Left would ``press for a Constitutional amendment for bringing international treaties and certain bilateral agreements for approval in Parliament.’’
The Left parties could of course bring down the Government by withdrawing support. But Left leaders have made it clear that pulling down the Government is not on their minds because it would provide an opportunity to the BJP to capture power.
Yechury said that it would be more of a political battle both inside and outside Parliament. Inside Parliament, Left protests could take the form of disruptions and walkouts. Outside it could mean whipping up public support through rallies, mass agitations and demonstrations. In the end, what remains to be seen is whether the Left stance on the nuclear deal remains mere political posturing.