PM conciliatory to communists after harsh words


New Delhi : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who dared the Left allies to withdraw their support, was in conciliation mode Saturday evening, saying he was confident of resolving the differences with them over the India-US nuclear deal.

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Speaking hours after his unprecedented tongue-lashing of the Left created a mini storm, Manmohan Singh said he was committed to the promises he had made to parliament and to the Left on the issue.

“I feel sorry that so far the Left has been asking me to deliver on the basis of my July statement (July 2005 joint statement with the US) and my statement in the Rajya Sabha. I have delivered on those promises,” Manmohan Singh told IANS after the swearing-in ceremony of Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

He was replying to a question whether he felt hurt at the Left parties’ refusal to support the nuclear agreement between New Delhi and Washington.

The prime minister has told the Kolkata-based Telegraph daily that he had dared his communist allies that they could withdraw support to the government if they liked but the deal would not be renegotiated.

“I am pretty confident that we can resolve the issues,” he said, adding that his statement in parliament – scheduled for Monday – will clarify many concerns expressed by the Left parties.

Asked whether the government would fall if the Left withdrew its support, Manmohan Singh said: “We will cross the bridge when we come to it”.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left parties, which have rejected the 123 agreement between New Delhi and Washington, have warned of “serious consequences” if the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government went ahead with the deal.

The Left has repeatedly said that the India-US nuclear deal has to be seen in the context of overall growing strategic relations between India and the US.