Left MPs silent in parliament during opposition din


New Delhi : After two days of verbal duels with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, the Left MPs were silent in the Lok Sabha Monday, indicating the Left’s willingness not to blow up the issue for the time being in the parliament.

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However, in order to register their apprehensions and reservations over the nuclear agreement, the MPs from the four Left parties walked out of both houses of parliament while Manmohan Singh was at the end of his statement on the deal.

Amid shouting and sloganeering from the Samajwadi Party and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manmohan Singh defended the deal, which the Left has rejected citing its disapproval of India’s increasing proximity with Washington. However, the Left MPs did not join the din and were sitting quietly in the Lok Sabha.

They stood up when Manmohan Singh had almost completed his speech and then walked out of the house declaring that they were not “convinced”.

In the morning when the Lok Sabha met, the Left MPs did not join in the uproar of the BJP and Samajwadi Party MPs. The house witnessed two quick adjournments after the acrimonious scenes.

Left sources said they did not join the opposition attack as they did not want to be seen as part of the BJP, which is opposing Manmohan Singh.

They say their opposition is different from the BJP’s and they are opposed to ties with the US.

Left sources also indicated that their leaders hoped to resolve the present stalemate through discussions.

The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Sitaram Yechury said the Left leaders would meet the prime minister over the nuclear deal.

Manmohan Singh has dared the Left to withdraw support if they could not back the nuclear deal. Reacting to this, CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat had said it was the Congress party’s “responsibility to remain in power”.

However, the Left has said that while there have been differences with the UPA, the integrity of the government had never been in question.

Monday was the prime minister’s first statement after signing of the 123 agreement, which lays down the details for implementation of the July 2005 Indo-US nuclear accord.