Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: A crucial two-day meeting of the central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) began here on Wednesday, amid indications that it would reiterate the Left parties’ stand on the India-U.S. civilian nuclear agreement asking the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government to “press the pause button” on the deal.

“All we are asking from the government is to press the pause button on the deal and properly evaluate all the implications and objections before proceeding further,” a senior CPI(M) leader said.

The CPI(M) central committee meeting, convened in the wake of the ongoing stand-off between the Left parties and the government over the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, is discussing all aspects of the deal as well as taking a critical look at the government response so far and the prevailing political situation in the country.

On Monday, the four Left parties reiterated their August 7 stand that in view of the widespread opposition to the 123 agreement with the U.S. and the fact that a majority in Parliament was against it, the government should not proceed further with the agreement.

It means not taking the next step of safeguards negotiations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) at Vienna.

On Wednesday, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and MP Sitaram Yechury said that his party did not have any objection to India participating in the IAEA meet in September but asserted that there should be no talks on India-specific safeguards on the nuclear deal with Washington.

Highly placed sources indicated that the central committee would also deliberate on when the party should take the next step as the Left stand on the deal had already been linked to the government not going for safeguards negotiations with the IAEA.

What would be the next step how far the party will be ready to push the envelope so far as the existence of the UPA government is concerned are some of the questions that the central committee is likely to discuss.

The CPI has also convened an emergent meeting on August 28 and 29.

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