PM should be blamed for crisis, says Karat
However, the Govt and allies are looking for a way out of the imbroglio that threatens to cut short their tenure and lead to early polls, report J Gandhi and S Nagi.india Updated: Jun 28, 2008 00:34 IST
The UPA-LEFT standoff over the India-US civil nuclear pact deepened on Friday as the CPM, perhaps for the first time, squarely blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for plunging the country into a “political crisis”.
The party, in its mouthpiece People’s Democracy, said the crisis was caused by the prime minister’s “renewed bid” to approach atomic watchdog IAEA for a safeguards agreement to operationalise the nuclear deal.
The CPM’s anti-PM tirade came even as the government and UPA allies continued to look for a way out of the imbroglio that threatens to cut short the government’s life and lead to early Lok Sabha polls. “We are discussing with all parties concerned. We hope that after this we will arrive at an acceptable solution… I am aware of the constraints of time but we have to keep in view the concerns of different sections,” said Pranab Mukherjee, external affairs minister and head of the UPA-Left panel on the deal.
Working once again on the logic that the government has to survive to save the deal, a UPA leader said, “No one wants early polls. A way out will be found. Both sides have to step back a little… But if it comes to a crunch, we will all back the PM.”
But the Left, certain that the government would go to the IAEA, virtually accused it of betrayal. “The urgency to approach the Board of Governors of IAEA runs contrary to the understanding arrived at in November 2007... that the government would go to the IAEA for talks... but not proceed to get the Board’s approval,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat wrote in People’s Democracy.
"The Left is being told that once it agrees to go to the Board of Governors, the government won't proceed further. This is similar to the promise made… in November 2007," Karat said. He added that the government's tactics has been to try and get the Left to agree piecemeal to a step-by-step operationalisation of the 123 agreement.
Karat said the schedule set by the US was "impelling the PM to go ahead regardless of the consequences". He suggested a way out for the government: it can tell the US there's no political consensus on the deal and it cannot proceed further on it even though it is convinced it's good for the country.
He signed off by warning that the BJP and other communal forces would exploit the situation and reiterated that the Left will not compromise on an issue that spells a strategic alliance with the US.
The AICC debunked the CPM's charge against the PM and said the deal was in national interest. But spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said there's still hope for the UPA-Left ties. "We have not reached the point of no return,'' he said. But AICC's Veerappa Moily took the battle into the communist camp, saying in Guwahati that the Left's agenda of keeping communal forces out would not be served if they oppose the deal.
Not surprisingly, the opposition BJP tried to exploit the situation. In Kanpur, L.K. Advani said the PM has lost the right to rule and said the government should seek a vote of confidence if the Left pulled out.
The Congress's contingency plan, if the Left parted ways with the UPA, includes tapping the smaller formations and the 39-member SP to make up for the shortfall in numbers. But SP's Mulayam Singh Yadav held his cards close to his chest. "The party's stand will become clear after the UNPA meeting on July 3," he said. He added no one from the Congress has so far approached him.