Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"Nuclear deal: PM is the lone supporting voice," Business Standard, June 13, 2008.

The government's main interlocutor with the Left parties on the Indo-US nuclear deal — Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee — has, in the last ten days, spoken at least twice on the issue to the media. He has reiterated the need to tap nuclear energy but has remained evasive on the fate of the 123 Agreement between India and the US for civilian nuclear cooperation.

This seems to be a signal that the Congress-led UPA has succumbed to the harsh fact that the deal, its biggest international venture, will bite the dust as the Left remains sceptical. CPI(M) Politburo member Sitaram Yechuri said today: "The UPA-Left committee will meet but there is no question of agreeing to the government's stand."

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said domestic difficulties were holding up the deal, could be the Congress' lone voice still pushing for the deal, said top sources in the party. Congress President Sonia Gandhi has also been apprised of the ground reality that it is almost impossible to save the deal. Gandhi and her top party managers have also decided that they will not go ahead with the deal at the cost of losing the Left's support.

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