New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 30 June played down the Left parties threat to withdraw support to his government on the Indo-US nuclear deal and made it clear that he was prepared to face Parliament before operationalizing the deal.
Breaking his silence on the nearly fortnight-long stand-off with the Left parties supporting his government from outside, he said all that he wanted was that the government should be allowed to complete the negotiation process with the IAEA and NSG.
Singh expressed confidence that the government would be able to address concerns of all including the Left parties on the civil nuclear cooperation agreement with the US.
“We will grapple with that stage when we come to it,” he said when asked about the threat held out Sunday by CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat that his party would withdraw support in concert with other Left parties if the government went ahead with the deal.
“I hope we can work out...we can still work out an outcome that will satisfy all parties,” he told senior journalists at his residence after releasing the ‘National Action Plan on Climate Change´ brought out by the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.
Initially the Prime Minister, who appeared relaxed despite the political stalemate, said he would not like to speak on the nuclear issue maintaining that silence was better but later came out with his comments in reply to questions.
“I have said it before. I will repeat it again that I have told them (Left) you allow us to complete the process. Once the process is over, I will bring it before Parliament and abide by the House,” he said.
The Prime Minister said, “I am not asking for something that the government should not be doing. I am only saying you will allow me to complete the negotiations.
“There are concerns. I agree to come to Parliament before I proceed to operatioanalize (the deal). What can be more reasonable than this”.
He said the BJP and the Left parties will have an opportunity to discuss the deal in Parliament.
“If Parliament feels you (government) have done some wrong, so be it,” Singh said.
“All that I want is the authority to proceed with the process of negotiations through all stages like the IAEA and NSG that will not tie down the hands of the country,” he said.
Asked about the prospects of early elections because of the political problems over the deal, Singh said, “I don’t see elections”.
To a question about Karat’s strident attack on Sunday, he said, “there is nothing new in what the Left parties have said. I have not given up hope still”.
He parried a question on the speculation about his attending the G-8 summit in Tokyo saying the nuclear deal was not on the agenda there. He laughed off a suggestion that he would be more comfortable attending the G-8 if the issue was resolved before his departure.
Singh said he does recognise that the issue has aroused a great deal of interest.
Earlier in his speech at the release function, Singh said there should be a shift from economic activity based on fossil fuels to one based on non-fossil fuels and from reliance on non-renewable and depleting sources of energy to renewable sources of energy. He made no mention of nuclear energy.