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'The Left's attitude is stupid'

August 20, 2007 17:44 IST
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What do ordinary people think of the political crisis in New Delhi? Do they believe the Communists are correct in opposing the India-US nuclear deal? Do they think the nuclear deal is good for the country? Do they believe India is ready for a mid-term poll? Do they think the prime minister will resign and be replaced by someone else?

rediff.com correspondents spoke to Indians around the country to find out what they think.

What India Thinks, Part I: 'No elections please' | Part II: 'UPA will survive'| Part III: 'I feel sorry for Dr Singh'

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Dr Kamala Gopinathan, retired college professor, Thiruvananthapuram

We are using only 3% of energy from nuclear power. I don't see why we have to go through this deal at all. Nuclear power is not such an essential thing and all the developed countries are phasing out nuclear power plants. So, I feel we should concentrate on other forms of energy.

This is one thing. The second point is, when you want to have a deal, you can't expect anyone to give you everything without any conditions. So, if you want their help, I think it is fair that they impose some conditions. If you don't want any conditions, don't take their help and develop on your own.

I feel the attitude of the Left is stupid. What were they doing till now when the negotiations were going on? What they are dong now is a show. I don't think they mean anything they say. All this tough posture is for the public consumption. They have to show the public that they are the Left parties and they will oppose what the US does. They will get votes only when they are anti-America.

All these Communists have a blind hatred for America and anything that America does. I don't think they are going to pull the government down. I may be wrong but I feel this is just a show. There will not be any mid-term poll.

I don't know why the BJP opposes the deal. Are they not the ones who started all this? If they were in power, I am sure the deal would have been further in favour of the US.

In the present conditions, we have to have close economic ties with the US. In this uni-polar world, it is better to be on their side than against them.

Manmohan Singh is a wishy-washy prime minister because he has his hands and feet tied, one side by Sonia and the other side by the Left. But he has ideas. If he was given more freedom, he would have done much more.

The Left, I feel, will ask for Manmohan Singh's head; they are not at all happy with him. They perceive him as an ally of the US. But I don't think Sonia will agree. If she replaces Manmohan Singh, that will mean loss of popularity. Internationally also, the UPA government will lose face and it will be a disaster.

I am sure this stalemate will continue for some time and then die a natural death.

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Vaishnav Walia, Palampur, Himachal Pradesh

The Leftists follow a system and have the mentality of living-in-the-well. They do not realise that our society is a commercial society and the Left's ideology does not fit in there. They are threatening the government -- this Leftist ideology of threat started in the 20th century.

All is well said about the virtues of democracy, that democracy propagates equality but the truth is simple -- one who is powerful is influential. It is so among our relatives, neighbours -- the ones who are rich have influence. In the same way -- America is powerful and influential.

America can help India. We all know that we cannot isolate ourselves. We cannot be like Russia and we are not as economically strong and disciplined like China. The nuclear agreement will be mutually beneficial to both the USA and India. What if we go back -- and what if America cuts its nuclear assistance to us? Not only that, our diplomatic relations will also suffer.

The nuclear bomb is for blackmail, that is its real purpose. It is of no use otherwise and India already has the nuclear bomb. We do not even need to test in the future because we already have it! It's like software, once you have it, you have it -- we don't need a newer version. The old version is good enough.

The prime minister is being constrained by the socialists and the Communists. Because of not having an absolute majority we have not been able to see the real Dr Manmohan Singh, who can be the architect of modern India. He is such a nice man but he is being pushed to the wall and is being prevented to work to his full strength.

It is difficult to find a replacement for him. Vajpayeeji has literally retired. One person who can replace Dr Singh -- A P J Abdul Kalam, maybe.

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Pratima Pal, teacher, Kolkata

The nuclear deal should not be supported. I wholeheartedly support the Leftists' stand. We are a free nation. We should not sell our sovereignty to the US. We have enough resources to develop other unconventional sources of energy. I see no reason why we should bank on the US.

Are we ready for mid-term polls? If that seems the only solution so be it. I agree a lot of money will be spent on the election. But we are left with no choice. The government has a serious issue at hand this time and I feel we cannot let a government willing to trade the interest of the nation continue in power.

Dr Manmohan Singh has been a good prime minister, but on the nuclear issue, he has compromised with Indian sentiment. If the deal is pushed through, it will harm India's interest. If it does not go through, it will be a major embarrassment for India. Indian politics will lose its global credibility. It's a Catch 22 situation for him and he may have to resign ultimately. I don't see any fitting replacement for him, though. I don't feel Pranab Mukherjee will be half as good as Dr Singh.

The government can go for a halfway solution at the moment -- it could delay approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nuclear Suppliers Group by a few months -- before the deal goes to the US Congress for vote. With Bush's term ending in January 2009, our government will survive and the deal will be as good as dead.

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Vidya Pant, housewife, Pune

If America does not intervene in India's foreign policy decisions in the long run, then the nuclear deal is alright. If it helps India, then there is no harm but I think nuclear cooperation should be discussed in Parliament.

I don't agree that India needs America to find a place among the developed countries. Why should India take any country's help for this? If we are united, we can make our place on the world stage on our own steam.

After all, it is the Indians in America who have made a huge contribution to what America is today. Can't Indians in India do the same?

What the Left is doing is trying to push the government on the back foot, but these are only empty threats by the Left. They will not withdraw support. This kind of posturing happens off and on, soon they will move on to another issue and this will lose priority.

Manmohan Singh is the best bet for the country now. He is a good man, he is not corrupt. He is honest, I don't think there is anyone at the present moment who can replace him.

Interviews by Archana Masih, Shobha Warrier, Indrani Mitra Roy

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