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Govt to set up mechanism to resolve N-deal stand-off
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | August 27, 2007 18:17 IST
Last Updated: August 27, 2007 18:40 IST
The government on Monday expressed willingness to set up a mechanism to resolve the stand-off with Left parties over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, Communist Party of India leader A B Bardhan said.
A private telelvision network claimed Shyam Saran, former foreign secretary, will head this mechanism.
Bardhan, who met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, said the two sides agreed that the mechanism should be at the political level.
Gurudas Gupta and D Raja accompanied Bardhan for the meeting. From the government side, Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi [Images] and Defence Minister A K Antony were assisting Mukherjee.
Newsmen and particularly cameramen of various television channels blocked the only exit point of Mukherjee's residence forcing the external affairs minister to rush out of his house without wearing his spectacles to find out what the din was all about. Before he could turn back, many mikes were thrust into his face.
Bardhan had written an article in Dainik Bhaskar saying the Left parties should not be afraid to pull the rug from under the government's feet.
Mukherjee has been entrusted with the task of finding a solution so the government survives its full term.
The CPI had agreed to talk to the government again after consulting CPI-M and other parties like Forward Bloc etc and the government has also promised to get back to the Left parties.
However, there was no clarification from either side whether there was any discussion on the government going ahead with its scheduled talks with International Atomic Energy Agency.
CPI-M is expected to meet Mukherjee later at night to find a middle path. Those who have been following the developments on the 123 Agreement feel that the talks are a hogwash and and that nothing would come out of it.
"We had a discussion on the issue of the opposition to the Indo-US nuclear cooperation deal. We discussed all the questions. It was decided that a mechanism should be worked out," Bardhan told reporters after a 90-minute meeting.
He said the Congress leadership would hold separate discussions with other Left parties -- CPI-M, Forward Bloc and Revolutionary Socialist Party.
"After they have come to a conclusion, a formal meeting will be held," Bardhan said.
The core group of the Congress had met in Delhi last week soon after party chief Sonia Gandhi's return from a tour of South Africa and decided to hold talks with Left leaders to find a way out.
The Left leaders have already been talking to the leaders of the United Progressive Alliance-led coalition and CPI national secretary D Raja had a meeting with Mukherjee on Sunday.
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury has also briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] on his party's position that it did not want the current crisis to affect the government, though it was "contingent upon the government not proceeding further with the agreement."
Yechury has also held a series of meetings during the week, including those with Sonia and Mukherjee.
Additional Reportage: PTI