Atiq Khan

LUCKNOW: Irrespective of the outcome of the trial of strength in the Lok Sabha, political parties in Uttar Pradesh are looking beyond July 22 on the nuclear deal issue. With the general elections less than a year away, for the Congress, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party and the Left parties public perception mattered the most as they mobilised public opinion on the agreement with the U.S.

The Left launched a nationwide campaign against the deal on Monday and the Congress high command asked the party general secretaries and State managers to clear misconceptions about it.

The two-day meeting of the city and district unit chiefs of the party on July 17 and 18 will mark the beginning of the Congress campaign in favour of the deal. The meeting will be attended by the All India Congress Committee General Secretary and in-charge of the party’s UP affairs, Digvijay Singh. The Lok Sabha election preparations and names of the prospective candidates will also be discussed at the meet.

Mobilising Muslims in favour of the deal forms an integral part of the Congress strategy. UP Congress president Rita Bahuguna Joshi said seminars, press conferences and meetings were proposed to be conducted by the party functionaries in all the districts and particularly in the Muslim-dominated pockets. Pamphlets containing the positive aspects of the agreement and aimed at clearing doubts that the deal was anti-Muslim would also be distributed.

The first phase of the Left campaign against the deal scheduled till July 31 would be taken to different parts of the State. “The Left campaign comprises of seminars, public meetings, dharnas and demonstrations in all the important cities, including Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Allahabad, Varanasi, Meerut, Bareilly and Gorakhpur,” said S.P. Kashyap, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Uttar Pradesh secretary of the Communist Party of India (CPI), Girish said: “If the UPA government falls on July 22 the nuclear deal would become a poll issue, if not, then the deal along with price rise and inflation will constitute the crucial aspects of the Left struggle against the Congress.” CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat’s meeting with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati and his appreciation of her stand on the deal has been viewed as a positive development by the Left. “The Left-Mayawati agreement to oppose the nuke deal has opened the possibility of the two coming together on common issues,” added Mr. Kashyap. By playing the Muslim card, the Bahujan Samaj Party president has made it clear what she wanted from her stand.

Samajwadi Party president and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mulayam Singh has been meeting party workers and holding meetings with district and city unit office-bearers for clearing his stand on the deal and his decision to support the UPA government in the trial of strength. Mr. Mulayam Singh, who has been camping in Lucknow allowing the SP general secretary, Amar Singh to hold fort in Delhi, has asked his partymen to establish mass contact over the issue.