India's communists have fired a fresh salvo at the government over a controversial nuclear deal with the United States, asking it to stop talks with a U.N. nuclear watchdog to clinch the pact or prepare for elections.
"When they return after the talks, we will tell them that there is no need to proceed further," Prakash Karat, general-secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told a party meeting, referring to negotiations between Indian experts and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"They will have to close this issue by the end of December," Karat said in comments that were made late on Saturday and shown on Times Now TV channel on Sunday. "If they go ahead then we will have to prepare for elections."
Singh's Congress party spokesman, Abhishek Singhvi, sought to downplay Karat's threat, saying that talks with the IAEA were being held with the full support of the communists.
The India-U.S. civil nuclear cooperation agreement aims to allow New Delhi to access American nuclear fuel and reactors by overturning a three-decade ban imposed after India conducted a nuclear test while staying out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But communist allies of Singh have rejected it, saying it compromises India's sovereignty and draws it into the geostrategic influence of the United States.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Aralık 2007, 17:30