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Left to pull out, to meet Prez tomorrow

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: July 08, 2008 22:44 IST
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The Left parties on Tuesday announced their decision to withdraw parliamentary support to the United Progressive Alliance government, and said they will meet President Pratibha Patil on Wednesday morning to hand over a letter to this effect.

PM to meet NSG members today

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday afternoon soon after a meeting to decide on the modalities of withdrawal of support, Community Party of India-Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat said with the prime minister announcing his decision to approach the International Atomic Energy Agency over the nuclear deal, no useful purpose will be served by continuing to support the government.

What the IAEA agreement gives India

There was also point in going ahead with the coordination committee meeting on July 10 as sought by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee since the government has gone against the decision of previous such meetings, Karat said.

He added that the Left will be releasing documents to show that the government has lied to the people of India over the nuclear deal.

'It is sad the N-deal is smeared in murky politics'

The Left parties have sought an appointment with the President for Wednesday, Karat announced.

A formal letter about the Left's decision to withdraw support has also been sent to Mukherjee, he added.

External affairs minister and chairman of the United Progressive Alliance-Left coordination committee Pranab Mukherjee in a letter to Communist Party of India -Marxist general secretary Prakash Karat, reminded the Left parties that during the sixth meeting of the committee on Indo-US Civil nuclear cooperation in November last year, it had been agreed that the government would proceed for talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the outcome would be presented to the committee before the latter's findings were finalized,"

Veerappa Moily, media coordinator of the Congress party, refused to specify whether the prime minister on his return would meet the President and give her details of his meeting with US President George Bush nor would Moily comment on whether the government would convene a special session of parliament and seek a vote of confidence before signing the nuclear deal.

"It is a matter of strategy. Let the prime minister return from Japan then we will discuss the matter," Moily said adding that he  did not think the PM had jumped the gun by announcing that India would go ahead and get clearance from the IAEA.

Moily felt that the Left was getting jittery about the losing face and hence it acted in a hurry. Moily called the breaking of ties between the UPA and Left parties as 'a divorce'.

Moily also said the  Samajwadi party, which had been on the receiving end of a barrage from Rahul Gandhi, was a party with secular credentials.

According to Moily it for the prime minister to take a decision on some of the demands put forward by Amar Singh particularly his allegations against Petroleum minister Murli Deora who had been seen as favouring a particular business house.

Moily claimed elections would take place only in April next year. When asked if they had the numbers to survive a no confidence motion Moily said that they have the necessary support.

"We have the numbers," Moily claimed while asking the media not to 'speculate too much about the numbers'.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi