A section of Congress leaders may be hopeful of pushing through the contentious India-US civil nuclear deal but the move will be a political suicide for the Congress, says the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).
Sources in the CPI-M say there will not be any dilution in their objections to the nuclear deal and that the party cannot support any move that will promote the pact with Washington.
The Congress and the Left are to meet May 28 to discuss the nuclear pact.
"On May 28 the Left will reiterate its stance and will ask for more details. The government has not been able to convince the Left about the deal," a senior CPI-M leader told IANS.
The Left leaders claim that they were not worried about reports that the government may push through the deal just ahead of the general elections.
"The Congress cannot afford such a betrayal. The Left and other parties who oppose the deal will go to the elections with that as the main issue. The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) will also make it a major election issue," said the leader.
According to informed sources, some Congress leaders have warned party president Sonia Gandhi against taking any steps that would damage its ties with Communists permanently.
But another group including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal argues that the government should not hesitate to take the nuclear deal ahead.
The Left leaders admitted that the government had been trying to convince them that New Delhi should not miss the bus and get the India-specific safeguards agreement formally finalised with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and to approach the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in order to shed the country's nuclear isolation that followed its first nuclear test in 1974.
CPI-M leader S. Ramachandra Pillai refused to accept the argument.
"The NSG was created by the US only to prevent India from getting nuclear fuel from other countries after the 1974 test. Now, the entire process at the IAEA and NSG began only to get the 123 agreement effective," said politburo member Pillai. "It is not a practical proposal at all."