Daily News & Analysis
NEW DELHI, Jul 11: Outflanked by the government on the nuclear deal, the Left parties on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to fast-track safeguards agreement even as they tried to drive a wedge between Singh and the external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Terming the move as a “shocking betrayal of a moral commitment” made to the country, the Left leaders vowed to make it impossible for the government to go ahead with the deal. In a meeting the leaders of CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc were assured by Mukherjee that the government will not go to IAEA before a trust vote.
“In less than 24 hours, when the country knows that the Government is reduced to a minority, the text of the IAEA agreement has been submitted,” said CPI (M) general secretary Prakash Karat, adding that Mukherjee has written to him saying that the text of the pact was a privileged document and could not be shared with a third party without going through the laid down procedures of the IAEA.
What was annoying for the Left leaders was that the text was available in some American websites on Wednesday while the Indian government fobbed them off saying it was “classified” document and cannot be shared. “There are no reasons to doubt the integrity of Pranab Mukherjee. He publicly committed that government will go to IAEA only after a trust vote after consulting the Prime Minister. But what happened in Japan? The Prime Minister went back on this commitment,” Karat said.
CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan said, “The government’s move had made the Mukherjee’s position “untenable”.” He also added that, Mukherjee said something twice but the government did something else both the time. He wrote a letter on Thursday asking Left leaders for a meeting but before anything could be done, the Prime Minister went on air saying that the government would move IAEA. Then again he made a solemn commitment that the government would not proceed to the Board of Governors of the IAEA till it proves its majority.”
Asked whether Mukherjee should quit, the top CPI leader said it was “up to his conscience.”
On the other hand, Karat said the Left parties want the Prime Minister to tell the nation what transpired in the meeting he had with US President George W Bush in Japan which led to the going back on a public pledge (that they will seek a vote of confidence).
He also released a book consisting 203 pages titled ‘Left Stand on The Nuclear Deal’ - a compilation of rejoinders and notes the Left exchanged with the government on the deal - for put the record straight.
“Yesterday they said it was a classified and a privileged document but a US website had put it up. This is the plight of the country,” the CPI (M) leader said. He noted that the UPA government was keeping the text confidential and not the IAEA, which has been confirmed by spokespersons of the IAEA in the last 24 hours.
Ridiculing Congress spokespersons who went on air noting that making the text public would lead to “nuclear terrorism”, Karat said, “Don’t treat the public this way. We also have intelligence,” he said.
Karat said the Left parties will study the draft of the safeguards agreement, which was made public by the government this morning, and soon come out with their analysis and stand on the issue.
“We have great respect for Anil Kakodkar. He has gone on record saying negotiations on the draft were in progress with the IAEA. But while he was saying this, the government asked the IAEA to submit it for consideration by the Board of Governors,” he said.
“At least, put one version of lies and not different lies,” added Karat.