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Home > News > PTI

N-deal: PM turns to Buddhadeb to break impasse

August 15, 2007 21:05 IST

Despite public statements reiterating their respective positions, quiet efforts are being made through back channels by Congress and the Left parties to sort out the crisis for the United Progressive Alliance government arising out of the nuclear deal with the United States.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's [Images] Independence Day address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort [Images] on Wednesday in which he made no reference to the controversial deal is seen as part of efforts to keep the tempers down as the two sides look for ways to resolve the stand-off.

West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who was tapped by the prime minister on Tuesday in the midst of the stalemate following his challenge to the Left to withdraw support on the deal, is likely to have a one-on-one meeting with Singh on August 17 when the CPI(M) Politburo meets to discuss the issue, sources said.

The chief minister had yesterday told the prime minister that the party's position on the deal was a principled stand.

But the government side probably expects that the discussions between Singh and Bhattacharjee could enable the Politburo consider the issue in a different perspective, the sources said.

Some Left leaders were also in touch with Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi [Images] in a bid to ensure that the matter is not precipitated.

Left sources said that though their opposition to the deal cannot be compromised, the bottomline is also that they will not bring any harm to the government.

The government's anxiety increased after the strong statement by the CPM Politburo on Tuesday hours after the breakfast meeting between the prime minister and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, rejecting the deal and asking the government not to operationalise it.

A PMO statement had on Tuesday said after the breakfast meeting that the two leaders reiterated that efforts would be made to sort out the issues, an indication that serious differences prevailed.

Left sources feel that BJP's attempt to corner the UPA and the crucial outside allies by forcing a vote after a discussion on the deal may not fructify. Ultimately in the event of a vote of censure on a motion under Rule 184 in Lok Sabha, the Left parties may choose to walk out.

But, the Left sources made it clear that this cannot be taken as a license by the government to go ahead with the deal. They are insisting that the government should not take up the exercise of negotiations with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the IAEA as part of the 123 agreement till matters are sorted out, the sources said.

The Left parties, who have said they will not go with BJP on the issue, however, say that the majority in Parliament is against the deal, which the government should realise.

A meeting of the extended CPI Central Secretariat has also been slated on August 17 to take stock of the situation, with the discussion on the deal likely in Parliament next week. No definite date has been so far fixed for the debate.

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