Thursday, July 3, 2008

UNPA's position on Nuclear Deal

The clouds of political instability continue to hover over the nation. The United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) has stopped short of giving a categorical assurance to the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the issue of support.In the face of aggressive Congress efforts to woo one of its major constituents, the UNPA today (July 3) managed to put up a united face by apparently persuading Samajwadi Party to hold its cards on the Indo-US nuclear deal."We are not going to give a certificate of support to the Prime Minister on the deal before July six," INLD leader Om Prakash Chautala told a press conference after a four-hour meeting of the UNPA that consists of SP, TDP, AGP, INLD and JVP.Rejecting any talk of a rift within the constituents of the UNPA, the Third Front claimed it is united on its stance on the N-deal. "UNPA is united, we are one; we'll consult scientists on Indo-US nuclear deal," SP chief and UNPA chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said.The UNPA however refused to give any open certificate of support to the UPA, but stopped short of revealing whether they would back the UPA on the nuclear deal.Elaborating on the UNPA's stand, senior Samajwadi Leader Amar Singh said, "We will hold more discussions to clear our doubts...We will put forward the clarification of the Prime Minister as well as the sub-text of the nuclear deal before a trusted expert." "UNPA's stand against the Government on inflation and price rise remains unchanged," Singh added.The UNPA also called for a national debate over the nuclear deal. "Nuclear deal is a national issue. There has to be a national debate on it." Amar Singh said.INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala clearly said that there will be no decision before July 6. "We will never support this deal till clarifications are given; Prime Minister will not get any certificate from UNPA for the deal by July six."The clarification comes on the back of reports of a rift within the UNPA over its position on the N-deal. However, the Samajwadi Party, whose 39 MPs may be crucial to the UPA Government in the Lok Sabha if the Left parties withdraw support, again gave indications of tilting towards Congress when it said "communalism is a bigger danger than the nuclear deal".UNPA targets finance, oil ministerThe UNPA today targeted the Finance Minister and the Oil Minister accusing them of being responsible for inflation. Though the UNPA has not asked for their resignation the Congress may come under pressure to drop them at a later date. Amar Singh was extremely critical over the performance of the petroleum minister and the finance minister saying that it is upto the government to decide whther it wants to retain ministers who are responsible for rising prices of essential commodities and petroleum products."We have not demanded the removal of Union Ministers P Chidambaram and Murli Deora," Amar Singh clarified.Singh said the Government had banned the export of cement and steel but had not taken any such step relating to export of petroleum products by private parties. Chautala said the Government was bent upon destroying the nation.Replying to a question on his party's stand on support to the Government on the deal, Singh shot back, "why should UNPA spell out its strategy when the Government and the Left parties were yet to divorce".Amar singh's statement comes after reports that the SP wanted the removal of both the ministers in lew of their support over N-deal.UNPA consults Kalam on N-dealAs part of their decision to consult eminent experts on the nuclear deal, a UNPA delegation lead by Mulayam Singh met former President and noted scientist APJ Abdul Kalam in New Delhi tonight, sources said.The move comes following the UNPA's nearly four-hour long meeting after which the leaders said they were not satisfied with the clarifications issued by the Prime Minister's Office on the deal and would consult noted scientists before taking a stand.Amar Singh said they will consult an eminent expert whose views were acceptable to the entire nation. To a question whether they would consult former President APJ Abdul Kalam, one of the UNPA leaders remarked that Kalam was the "greatest scientist".'No problem with UNPA taking its time'Meanwhile, an embarrassed Congress party put up a brave face. Releasing a brief reaction after the UNPA meet, Congress said, it has no problems with the UNPA taking its time over giving assurance of support.Congress leader Veerappa Moily told reporters in New Delhi that they never expected 'a decision' from UNPA today."We want to take the country along with us.. I think UNPA is part of the country," Moily said."PM is going to Japan to participate in the G8 summit the agenda is climate change...UNPA is a third front, we cannot comment on that."There is no need for this atmosphere of instability. Government is stable and we have completed our term," he added.Speaking exclusively to me over phone (on behalf of Star News), Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhivi said, "It is not a deadline. This is not the way I am looking is a process and that is how we are looking at it. They can take a few more day to decide as well."Left: Dialogue with UNPA is on The Left meanwhile said the Left parties are in continuous touch with the UNPA leader on the N-deal issue.Speaking exclusively to me on behalf of Star News, CPI's leader D Raja said, "I cannot comment on the UNPA meet. The only thing I can say is that a dialogue in on, particularly with the TDP.""We cannot comment on UNPA while a dialogue is on," he added.The CPI is also proposing to other Left parties to consider modalities of withdrawal of support in Friday's meeting. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for the G-8 summit in Japan on July seven which the Left parties feel is an indicator that the Government is going ahead with the deal.
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