Today's Paper

Left parties withdraw support

Vinay Kumar

NEW DELHI: Political developments over the civilian nuclear deal with the United States reached a crescendo on Tuesday with four Left parties announcing withdrawal of support to the United Progressive Alliance government over its move to go to the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors to seal the safeguards accord.

Left leaders will meet President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday and formally hand over a letter of withdrawal of support.

Announcing the decision after a meeting of the CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc, CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat said the Left parties decided that if the government “goes to the IAEA Board of Governors, they will withdraw support. In view of the Prime Minister’s announcement, that time has come.”

On way to Japan on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced that the government would go to the IAEA “very soon.”

At a press conference , Mr. Karat reminded External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee that since the UPA refused to provide the text of the safeguards agreement to the members of the UPA-Left committee on the deal, “no purpose will be served by having a meeting on July 10.”

Reading out their reply to Mr. Mukherjee’s letterin which he proposed a meeting of the committee on July 10, Mr. Karat said that at the sixth meeting of the committee on November 16, 2007, it was decided that the “government will proceed with the talks with the IAEA and the outcome will be presented to the committee for its consideration before it finalises its findings.”

The Left reply said, “Till now, the ‘outcome of the talks’, i.e., the text of the Safeguards Agreements negotiated with the IAEA Secretariat, has not been made available to the Committee. Without the text, the Committee cannot come to any findings. Since the UPA has refused to provide the text to the members of the Committee, no purpose will be served by having a meeting on July 10.”

The reply was signed by Mr. Karat and the general secretaries of the CPI, Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party, A. B. Bardhan, Debabrata Biswas and T. J. Chandrachoodan.

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