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Politburo to scan the nuclear deal

india Updated: Aug 14, 2007 02:49 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's statement on the Indo-US nuclear deal in Parliament on Monday failed to impress the Left parties.

Senior Left leaders said that they would continue to oppose the deal. On Tuesday, MPs of the four Left parties would meet in Parliament to chalk out ways to take the protest forward.

An all-member polituro meeting of the CPI(M) has also been called over the weekend to discuss the deal. Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) politburo member, said on Monday the politburo would debate the pros and cons of the situation arising out of the signing of the agreement.

The politburo is also likely to decide whether the Left would want a discussion on the deal - which is now slated for August 20 - under section 193 of Parliamentary Rules for Lok Sabha, which only entails a general discussion.

Yechury met Singh in the afternoon where the PM again attempted to assuage the Left's worries. He informed Singh that Left parties would discuss their reservations on the Indo-US civil nuclear deal with the government after his statement on the issue in Parliament.

With 43 MPs, the CPI(M) is the largest Left party among the four that are jointly propping up the Congress-led UPA government with 59 MPs.

Left leaders said on Monday that the PM's eight-page statement does not resolve their misgivings about the deal, especially because it has no mention of the Hyde Act.

The Act is a domestic US law, which gives directives to the 123 bilateral nuclear agreement between India and the US. It was passed in December 2006, four months after the PM assured Parliament that all of Left's concerns would be addressed.

The Left has contended that the Act binds the 123 deal. For one, under the Act, the US President has to annually report to the US Congress that India's foreign policy is "congruent to that of the United States and more specifically India joining US efforts in isolating and even sanctioning Iran,'' the Left argued.

In the coming days, their protest inside Parliament is likely to get shriller.