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Left will decide pullout modalities on Friday

Source: PTI
July 03, 2008 18:37 IST

Gearing up to implement their threat of withdrawing support to the United Progressive Alliance government over the Indo-US nuclear deal, the Left parties would tomorrow work out the timing and modalities of the pullout.

"We will demand tomorrow from the government to tell us as to when it is going to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The question is not whether they are going (to IAEA). The fact that they are going ahead is clear, but when is the question," Communist Party of India General Secretary A B Bardhan told reporters after a meeting of the party's Central Secretariat in New Delhi.

"There are no two opinions (about the Left decision to withdraw support). Modalities will be decided ... we have to write to the President (to declare withdrawal of support)... all these things will be decided," he said.

Asked whether the Left parties had any indication as to when the government would move the IAEA, Bardhan said, "The government itself is in a hurry. If they are going (to IAEA), they are going within this week ... within the next seven, eight or 10 days."

To persistent queries including whether the Left parties would wait for the prime minister to return from his visit to Japan to attend the G-8 summit before taking the ultimate step, the CPI leader said, "If they tell us they are going on the 5th or 6th, we will withdraw then itself. But in the normal course, we will wait till he comes back."

Besides the CPI Central Secretariat, the other Left parties – Revolutionary Socialist Party and Forward Bloc -- also met in New Delhi on Thursday. The CPI-Marxist Politburo has already decided to pull the plug the moment the government moved the IAEA Board of Governors to finalise the India-specific safeguards agreement, which is a key step in operationalising the nuclear deal.

On the statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office justifying the nuclear deal, Bardhan said, "They have not been able to answer all our queries."

Observing that a "high-powered campaign" had been launched to divert the people's attention from the pressing problems, he accused the government of "indulging in a deceptive campaign by grossly exaggerating the 'benefits' which it says will accrue from the deal."

Maintaining that the government had agreed to present the outcome of the IAEA talks to the UPA-Left Committee, he said it had continued with the "untenable" stand that the text of the safeguards agreement cannot be shown to the panel.

He accused those at the "helm" of the government of also ignoring "the words of caution from their own allies, who while supporting the deal, wanted no break with the Left and no move that will precipitate a political crisis."

Charging the government with "mismanaging" the economy leading to a galloping inflation, unemployment and "glaring disparities", Bardhan said rather than devoting attention to mitigate the people's miseries, "it is diverting all its energies on the one agenda of pushing ahead the nuclear deal."

"The political crisis and uncertainty into which the country has been plunged is of the UPA government's own making. Those at the helm of the government have doggedly pursued neo-liberal policies and totally mismanaged the national economy," he said.

The veteran communist said the Left, consistent with its principled stand, would have to decide to withdraw its support to the UPA government. "The CPI proposes this to other Left parties who are meeting on Friday to consider the modalities of this action," Bardhan said.

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