Samajwadi Party to be briefed on nuclear deal 'facts'
The Samajwadi Party, believed to have agreed to back Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government in the wake of Communists probably withdrawing their support, will get a briefing on Wednesday on "facts” about the contentious India-US civil nuclear agreement.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh, who has declared that his party would review its stance opposing the deal if the government comes out with more facts, will meet National Security Adviser (NSA) M.K. Narayanan during the day.
The support of Samajwadi Party's 39 MPs is crucial for the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) as the Left has indicated that it would pull out its legislative support if the government went ahead with the nuclear deal.
The four-party Left bloc, whose 59 MPs prop up the UPA government, is scheduled to meet Friday to take a final decision. Its largest constituent, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has decided that the Left parties will ask the government to clarify its final position on the contentious deal on Friday.
Once they get a specific reply - the Communists believe that the government has decided to go ahead with the nuclear pact - they would go to President Pratibha Patil to inform her of their withdrawal of support.
Amar Singh's meeting with the NSA comes a day after he informed the Communist leadership that the Samajwadi Party would back the UPA government. According to Samajwadi Party leaders, the party is expected to extend outside support - it will not be a part of the government for the time being.
CPI-M insiders said Singh has assured both CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yehcury, whom he met Tuesday at their party headquarters, that the Samajwadi Party would continue to oppose the nuclear deal outside parliament. But it will back the government if there is a trust vote.
The government does not have to seek parliament's consent to sign an international agreement.
While supporting the UPA government on the floor of the house, the Samajwadi Party wants to keep all political options open. It does not want to snap ties with the Left and wants to keep alive the possibility of a non-Congress, non-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) third alternative in the post-poll scenario.
With the backing of the Congress at the centre, the Samajwadi Party leaders believe that they can consolidate their position in their main power base Uttar Pradesh - a state now ruled by the Bahujan Samaj Party.
But the Samajwadi Party does not want to antagonise its Muslim support base by openly backing the nuclear deal with the Bush administration.