SP supports UPA, asks PM to explain nuclear deal to nation

SP supports UPA, asks PM to explain nuclear deal to nation
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First Published: Wed, Jul 02 2008. 11 08 PM IST

Balancing act: SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi on Wednesday. ( Sonu Mehta / HT)
Balancing act: SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi on Wednesday. ( Sonu Mehta / HT)
Updated: Wed, Jul 02 2008. 11 08 PM IST
New Delhi: Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party (SP), came out in open support of the Congress-led ruling coalition Wednesday, but skirted the question of backing the contentious Indo-US civilian nuclear deal that’s at the core of the emerging political realigment.
The Congress, meanwhile, reiterated its intention to advance the deal and claimed the Left had now become isolated because of its opposition to the pact. “Our official stand is committed to taking the deal through and all processes will be completed on time,” said Congress party spokeswoman Jayanti Natrajan.
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SP chief Yadav and his senior colleague Amar Singh were briefed by national security adviser M.K. Narayanan over the nuclear deal where they asked questions related to the Left’s reservations. Amar Singh urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to explain the pact to the nation while evading questions on his party’s stand over the deal.
Amar Singh tied the SP’s support to the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) to the party’s antipathy towards the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the main Opposition group which it considers a communal force and which may gain political mileage from the crisis relating to the nuclear deal. “We don’t want any more communal riots in the country,” Amar Singh said.
A Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPM, leader, who didn’t wish to be named, said the Left Front is unlikely to take a final decision on withdrawal of support to the UPA after a 4 July meeting as it had expected earlier.
According to this leader, the Left parties, which have 59 mebers in the Lok Sabha, may wait “for a week or so” before withdrawing support to the UPA.
Balancing act: SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav in Delhi on Wednesday. ( Sonu Mehta / HT)
The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA), led by the SP, is meeting Thursday to discuss the nuclear deal and the current political scenario.
While the SP is most likely to support the UPA in Parliament on the issue of the nuclear deal, other constituents such as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) came out in open support of the Left on Wednesday.
Several Left leaders, including CPM general secretary Prakash Karat and Communist Party of India leaders A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja, met senior TDP leaders K. Yerran Naidu and Rama Mohan Rao. Emerging from the meeting, Bardhan said: “We both discussed our stands on the nuclear deal and our stands happen to concur.”
Rao, an MP, said: “We have decided to form a front with the Left and fight elections together. A formal announcement will come on 4 July after the all-Left meet.”
However, Rao said that the UNPA would not break even if the SP decided to support the UPA government. “Mulayam will not join the government, but he is likely to support it from outside or vote in its favour in case of a no-confidence motion,” he said.
The BJP’s ally Shiv Sena is also likely to support the UPA government in the event of a floor test over the deal. It has 12 seats in Parliament. Indications are that the Rashtriya Lok Dal, with three members, might also decide to support the deal, helping the coalition survive in office without the Left’s backing.
Meanwhile, a senior US senator said he would push Congress to adopt the civilian nuclear deal with India if New Delhi was keen to pursue it as reported.
“If these reports are in fact true, and I hope they are, I am committed to work hard in order to get Congress to approve such a deal—as long as the required steps are taken and if the agreement with the United States meets the requirements of US law,” said Democratic Senator Joseph Biden.
ruhi.t@livemint.com
PTI and AFP contributed to this story.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 02 2008. 11 08 PM IST