Bardhan hits back at Singhvi

Special Correspondent

KOLKATA: “If someone wants to precipitate a crisis, we might have to withdraw support to the United Progressive Alliance government even before the Prime Minister returns from Japan,” CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan told a press conference here on Saturday.

He was asked to comment on the reported statement of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi that sovereign governments or political parties cannot be subjected to deadlines.

Mr. Singhvi made the statement in New Delhi on Friday in the wake of the Left parties setting a July 7 deadline for the UPA government for clarification on approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on the safeguards agreement related to the India-U.S nuclear deal.

On reports that Mr. Singhvi had described the setting of deadlines as “discourteous,” Mr. Bardhan said: “We did not want to pull the rug from under the government. Who is teaching us courtesy? We do not want lessons in courtesy from the Congress.”

He said it had been decided at the last Left-UPA committee meeting that before going to the IAEA, the government would show the text of its proposals to the Left parties. This it had failed to do.

Asked what the Left parties would do if the government ignored the July 7 deadline, he said they would meet either on July 8 or 9 to decide on the next course of action.

On BJP president L.K. Advani’s demand that the Manmohan government take a confidence vote in the wake of the Left’s threat, Mr. Bardhan said the government should seek it once the Left parties formally withdrew support.

On whether the Left parties would be politically isolated if they withdrew support over the nuclear issue rather than the rise in prices of essential items, he said: “As far as the Left is concerned, isolation means isolation from the people; there is no such isolation.”

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