Left renews threat over US nuclear pact

Left renews threat over US nuclear pact

New Delhi: In a clear message that it will pull the rug if the government went ahead with the Indo-US nuclear accord, the CPI (M) on 13 September bluntly told the Congress- led coalition that it would not be there to help it seal the deal.

“We won’t be there to help this government conclude this agreement," CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat declared at a conference here on the deal and its implications for democracy and sovereignty.

Karat made this clear after strongly opposing the 123 agreement and India’s burgeoning strategic and military partnership with the US.

Referring to the political crisis triggered by the Left rejection of the deal, Karat said “the basic problem is the fact that the rulers of our country have accepted (US Secretary of State) Condoleezza Rice’s offer that the US will help India become a major power in the world."

He spoke at length about the agreement and criticised the Manmohan Singh government’s “insistence" to go ahead with the deal “bypassing Parliament" and ignoring the views of most of the parties, including the Left on which the government depends for majority.

Karat also came down heavily on the Prime Minister for describing US President George W Bush as the “greatest friend of India" saying it was a “supreme irony" that the “most hated President" within the US is the “greatest benefactor" of this government.

“I would like the Prime Minister to be very careful about choosing his friends," he said and referred to “Bush’s other friends" like just-resigned Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and former British premier Tony Blair.

In a lighter vein, he said Blair has resigned, Abe has gone, Australian Prime Minister John Howard is going and everybody know about Pakistan and the condition of Bush’s favourite ally Pervez Musharraf and added that “we don’t want our Prime Minister in that category."

Karat said the Left wants the government to tell the Bush administration clearly that “we find Parliament of ours, the democracy of ours, is creating lot of problems and so let’s postpone the deal."

Asserting that it was upto the government now to take a decision as the Left has made its position clear, he said “we won’t be there to help this government conclude this agreement."

Karat said the separation plan, Hyde Act and the 123 agreement were the first three steps taken on the deal and the remaining two were the safeguards agreement with the IAEA and taking it to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).

Pointing out that the Left was not asking the government to abandon or scrap the deal, he said “We are only saying that don’t go now. Wait for sometime. Consider our objections and let Parliament opine on it."

Alleging that the government has given a commitment to the Bush administration, he sought to know why that commitment was “overruling all the other commitments they (Congress-led UPA coalition) have in India.

“They have a common minimum programme in India. They wrote it, not us," Karat said and maintained that forging a strategic alliance with the US was not part of the CMP to which the Left is a signatory.

In a message to UPA constituents -- RJD, DMK and the NCP, he said the Left has been telling them that it was not a matter of “routine differences between your coalition and the Left" and not only the Congress, they will also have to answer to the people.

Earlier, former prime minister V P Singh lashed out at Manmohan Singh saying “for the first time in independent India, we have a Prime Minister who is confronting Parliament" and said his stand hits at the roots of Parliamentary democracy.

Observing that the crisis is not because of the Left as is being projected, Singh said if elections are thrust on the country it will be solely because the government refused to pay heed to Parliament and chose to listen to Bush.

The conference, chaired by CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan, was also attended by Forward Bloc leader Debabrata Biswas and RSP leader Abani Roy.