Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Communist Party of India general secretary A.B. Bardhan on Thursday did not rule out reaching a consensus at the November 16 meeting of the United Progressive Alliance-Left Committee on the nuclear deal, depending on the government’s stand on issues raised by the Left.

He was talking to reporters after the two-day national council meeting of the party,

Asked if it would be the last meeting of the committee, he said it had to finalise its findings on the deal. Its findings would be taken into account before the government began operationalising the deal.

Mr. Bardhan said the UPA and the Left parties were entitled to their views on the deal. Similarly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi were also entitled to theirs on the deal.

“Our reaction was not based on what the Prime Minister said now or before; it was based on the text of the 123 Agreement, the Hyde Act and its implications and pursuit of our independent foreign policy. The quarrel was never about personality. We never questioned the integrity of the Prime Minister, his generally courteous nature, his proper behaviour with the coalition partners, which is as it should have been in a coalition government. Our differences emanated from our stand on the policies relating to foreign, economic and domestic issues,” he said.

Mr. Bardhan said the focus of the deliberations at the council meeting was on the deal. The council fully endorsed the stand taken by the CPI along with other Left parties on the issue.

The council held that India was being dragged into the U.S. global strategy; America’s intention was to make India a strategic partner and a military ally.

The council authorised the national executive and the central secretariat to take appropriate decisions, along with other Left parties, on the nuclear issue.

The CPI took strong exception to the pressure mounted upon the UPA government by the U.S. administration to push through the deal.