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Shocking betrayal of commitment, cries Left

The Left describes the Govt's move of submitting the draft safeguards agreement to IAEA board for approval as betrayal, reports Jatin Gandhi.
By Jatin Gandhi | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 11, 2008 12:22 AM IST

The left on Thursday launched another scathing attack on the UPA government, after the IAEA said that the draft safeguards agreement was circulated among its board members on India's request, dubbing the move as a "shocking betrayal" of the commitment made to the country.

Left leaders said they did not doubt External Affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee's integrity, but the government's move had made his position "untenable". Mukherjee had announced that the government would approach the IAEA only after it secures a trust vote. On Wednesday night the IAEA announced that the agreement's text was sent to the Board of Governors after India made a request.

“This is a blatant violation of the assurance given by the government, a betrayal of the moral commitment to the country. What transpired in the meeting of the PM with President Bush, which led to this going back on a public pledge? The prime minister owes an answer to the people and the country,” Karat said.

“In less than 24 hours, when the country knows that the government is reduced to a minority, the text (of the IAEA agreement) has been submitted,” he said.

The Left leaders, addressing the media just a day after parting ways with the Congress-led government, used the opportunity to remind the Congress that its move could be cause for another embarrassment for Mukherjee — one of the party’s senior leaders.

“There is no reason to doubt the integrity of Mukherjee who said that he had consulted the prime minister before telling the nation that the government would seek a confidence vote,” Karat said.

CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said, “Twice he had said something and twice the government did something else. He wrote a letter on July 10 but before anything could be done, the prime minister went on air saying that the government would move IAEA. Then again he made a solemn commitment that the government would not proceed to the Board of Governors of the IAEA till it proves its majority,” he said.

The government and the Congress, till Wednesday, were maintaining that the draft agreement is classified. "We got this text from various American websites. This is the plight of the country," Karat said. The text of the agreement was put out by the government on the MEA and the PIB websites on Thursday.

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