CHURUMURI POLL: What after the Left pullout?

The decision of the Left parties to withdraw support to the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government over the Indo-US nuclear deal draws to an end a long and messy chapter in contemporary Indian political history. With a vote of trust slated to come up in Parliament, and the UPA not yet assured of reaching the required 272 mark, the possibilities are pregnant, especially on the eve of an election year.

Questions: Does anybody come out smelling of roses after the fracas? Was the left right in pulling out or did the Congress miscalculate the depth of the Left’s opposition? Is the nuclear deal in the “national interest” or had it become an issue of ego and dogma for both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat?

With the Left off its back will the UPA succeed in pushing through reforms or will the demands of its “opportunistic” partners like Samajwadi Party hobble it? Will the N-deal play a role in the outcome of the next general elections? Which alliance will it help—UPA or NDA? Will a future government be able to pass the nuclear deal given the opposition it has engendered? Has the BJP shot its bolt by opposing the deal in its “present form”?