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Ambani in PMO as BJP, Left raise attack

Ambani in PMO as BJP, Left raise attack
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First Published: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 43 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 43 PM IST
New Delhi: The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, and the Left Front stepped up their offensive against the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, over the nuclear agreement with the US on Monday, with the Left launching a nationwide campaign to explain its withdrawal of support to the ruling coalition.
Reliance Industries Ltd chairman Mukesh Ambani, meanwhile, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and some senior civil servants to explain his case against a so-called windfall profit tax on refiners demanded by the Samajwadi Party (SP), the UPA’s new ally. The SP has pledged to back the government in a confidence vote in the Lok Sabha on 22 July. The BJP protested the India-specific draft safeguards agreement the UPA is committed to taking up with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA. Arun Shourie, a Rajya Sabha member of the BJP, charged the government with agreeing to a draft that belied the prime minister’s key assurances regarding an India-specific agreement: recognition for India being a nuclear-weapons state, restricted inspections of facilities under the IAEA’s purview, freedom for research and development, uninterrupted fuel supply and a strategic fuel reserve.
The Left parties, which withdrew support to the UPA on 8 July, attacked the government for moving ahead with the nuclear deal despite being reduced to a minority in Parliament as they flagged off their campaign against the coalition government.
Congress party spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the BJP and its “newfound allies” were attacking the government without any evidence.
Some analysts said that any simmering differences over the nuclear deal within the Congress party could spill into the open as the coalition fights for survival in office after losing the support of the Left.
“As of now, we are assuming that the Congress is a cohesive force behind the deal,” said Subrata Mukherjee, a professor at the University of Delhi’s department of political science.
“But don’t be surprised if you find differences of opinion within the Congress if it turns into a losing battle,” he added.
ashish.s@livemint.com
PTI contributed to this story.
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First Published: Mon, Jul 14 2008. 11 43 PM IST