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PM’s IAEA remark prompted pullout

india Updated: Jul 09, 2008 01:35 IST
Jatin Gandhi

If it wasn’t for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Monday, the Left would have approached the President only on July 11 to hand over the letter of withdrawal of support to his government, a Left leader told HT after their meeting on Tuesday.

The leaders were unanimous that the PM’s statement had changed the political scenario and the formal announcement — of the government approaching the IAEA — had come. So they needn’t wait for the withdrawal. Sources said the Left’s plan, prior to the statement, was to attend the meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the India-US nuclear deal on July 10 and announce the parting of ways after that.

“We had decided to ask the President for a meeting on July 11 and hand over the letter of withdrawal of support,” the leader said. “But the PM’s statement changed the situation. We discussed at today’s meeting that it was unwarranted and we should withdraw today itself. But since the President was to return only in the evening, we sought an appointment on Wednesday.”

The Left leaders will meet the President at noon on Wednesday.

At the meeting, CPM general secretary Prakash Karat presented the drafts of two letters to be given to the President. While one speaks of the withdrawal of their outside support, the other urges her to call upon Manmohan Singh to seek a trust vote.

Even as the meeting was on, the Left sought time from the Rashtrapati Bhawan and sent an emissary to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee with a letter saying the “time has come” for the Left to withdraw support.

“Since the UPA refused to provide the text (of the agreement with the IAEA) to the members of the committee, no purpose will be served by having a meeting on July 10,” Karat announced, reading from the letter. Mukherjee wrote back, just hours later, saying the text was a “privileged document held in confidence between the government and IAEA”.

“They (Left) complain that they have not been provided with the text. We told them we cannot show it as it is a classified document between the government and the IAEA negotiators,” he said.

With the withdrawal now only a formality, the Left also discussed the anti-UPA campaign they will launch on July 14. It is planning to focus on the “right turn” that it says the UPA has taken in its policies, away from the CMP and the government’s failure to control rising prices. “The UPA has moved far away from the CMP and our support was on the basis of the CMP,” said CPM politburo member Brinda Karat. On the Left not withdrawing support on the crucial issue of rising inflation, she said: “The price rise is linked to the deal. The Indo-US nuclear deal is the key to open the Indian markets to US interests.”