Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: CPI national Secretary D. Raja has warned that the third round of talks between the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left on October 5 to address the latter’s concern over the India-U.S. nuclear deal would be crucial to decide the future of their ties.

On the political uncertainty in New Delhi over the 123 nuclear agreement, Mr. Raja told reporters here on Friday that the UPA and the Left could enter into conflict if the Government refused to put the agreement on hold until their joint panel went into all details of the deal. The responsibility to clear the air solely lay on the UPA. There was no change in the Left opposition to the “text and content” of the agreement.

“We (four Left parties) are being reasonable and realistic in playing a constructive and positive role to stall the agreement that could spell several disasters to the country besides escalating its security concerns and adversely impacting foreign policy.”

He warned of serious consequences if the Government was determined to go ahead with the agreement. The Government’s intentions were made clear by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram at Washington when he said, “if we don’t grab this opportunity, it is going to be an epic mistake.” The remarks suggested that the Government intended to take the next step to operationalise the agreement. Mr. Raja said the Left parties would discuss their next course of action if the Government remained firm. “We are not forcing elections nor are we discussing it right now. We will wait and watch,” he said in reply to a question but warned that the Government could not take the support of the Left to stay in power for granted. He described 123 as a culmination of the drift of the UPA Government from the Common Minimum Programme on economic and foreign policies.

The CPI leader spoke of the countrywide agitations by the party from October 1 to 10 to highlight the Government’s ‘failure’ to control rising prices and strengthen the public distribution system. He criticised the BJP for “communalising” and scuttling implementation of the Sethusamudram project which, he said, would boost the economy of not only Tamil Nadu but many other States.