Monday, 30th October 2017

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Cloud on N-panel meet

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By OUR BUREAU in Delhi
  • Published 7.11.07

New Delhi, Nov. 7: The UPA-Left panel on the nuclear deal is unlikely to meet on November 16. Indications are that the next sitting could be held early next month.

Congress leaders are keen to ensure that the discussions of the panel, which has met five times with little success, and the nuke deal itself should not cast a shadow on the November 17 AICC session, where Rahul Gandhi will be showcased as the future leader of the party.

Sources said the panel’s meeting on the eve of the session might leave an air of uncertainty over the proceedings, given the perception that the Left had said or done nothing to indicate it had softened its stance.

The Congress leaders also felt it was better to wait for the debate on the deal in Parliament’s winter session, starting November 15, before getting the panel to meet again.

If the Left persisted with its criticism of the deal in the House, the sources said the “futility” of the panel would become obvious in public. “It will reduce the mechanism (the panel) to a farce,” said a cabinet minister.

But if the Left was restrained and smaller parties such as the CPI and Forward Bloc, among the stronger critics of the deal, did not launch personal attacks on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, it would make sense to carry on with the meetings of the panel, the sources said.

CPM general secretary Prakash Karat had said in his recent interview to The Telegraph that the Left was “ready (for the panel) to meet again if it helped arrive at some findings”.

But several leaders in the government and the Congress were of the view that the committee’s continuance would depend on the outcome and the tone of the debate in Parliament.

The Prime Minister has already told UPA allies about his displeasure at the manner in which some of them endorsed the accord in the cabinet but later questioned it outside after the Left stepped up its protests.