Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Sunday met communist patriarch and the former Chief Minister of the Indian state of West Bengal, Jyoti Basu at his Salt Lake residence in Kolkata amid a stand-off between the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Left over the vexed India-US nuclear deal.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and ruling Left Front chairman Biman Bose were also present during the meeting at Indira Bhavan, the residence of Basu, according to Congress sources.
However, the media were not briefed about the discussions. The meeting assumes significance as UPA chair person Sonia Gandhi Saturday evening categorically stated that her Congress party was ready to face elections, if the communists withdrew support to the government following their opposition to the nuclear deal.
The Left parties have threatened to withdraw support to the government if it went ahead with putting the deal on operation.