New Delhi, July 7: The Left appears to have advanced the date of its likely withdrawal of support after Manmohan Singhs statement today that the Centre would approach nuclear watchdog IAEA very soon for a safeguards agreement.
What may have hastened the date of the pullout is that Singhs comments came shortly after the Left parties received a letter from Pranab Mukherjee seeking a UPA-Left panel meeting on July 10.
CPM general secretary Prakash Karat said the Left parties will meet tomorrow morning and give an appropriate response.
Other Left parties did not appear to mince their words. CPI national secretary D. Raja pointed out that the Prime Minister has put the UPA-Left committee and its convener Pranab Mukherjee in a ridiculous position. Having made such a categorical statement, he has left the Left with no choice but to withdraw support.
All India Forward Bloc secretary G. Devarajan said the party will demand the withdrawal by June 10. Everybody knows the government is going ahead with the deal.
Left sources said the July 10 meeting had been rendered pointless by the Prime Ministers statement, made to reporters on board the plane to the G8 summit in Japan.
Mukherjees letter does not answer the communists July 4 question on whether the government is proceeding to seek the approval of the safeguards agreement.
The letter, enclosed in three covers for reasons of secrecy, was delivered along with a copy of the release that was issued after the last meeting of the UPA-Left panel.
This is (in) reference to your letter dated 4 July, 2008. As decided in our discussion in the 9th meeting of the UPA-Left committee on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation, we are ready with a draft report for the consideration of the committee. A meeting to consider the draft is scheduled 1600 hours on 10th July, 2008 at 13, Talkatora Road. Kindly make it convenient to attend the meeting, said the letter, a copy of which is with The Telegraph.
Early conclusion of the report will enable the government to take into account the committees findings, the foreign minister told the comrades in the letter.
The Congress appeared prepared. Party leaders, insisting they had the numbers to see the deal through, had their eyes on the Samajwadi Partys parliamentary board meeting tomorrow.
There have been reports that five Samajwadi MPs may defy the whip in a confidence vote but party sources said these lawmakers were only worried about their re-nomination, an issue the party could well address.