The communist parties that have provided India's government with a parliamentary majority for four years said on Tuesday they are withdrawing their support to protest a nuclear energy deal with the United States.
"That time has come," Prakash Karat, head of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), India's biggest communist party, told reporters.
The left's exit is expected to lead to a parliamentary vote of confidence in the government, which hopes the newly enlisted support of the regional Samajwadi Party will enable it to win such a ballot and avoid calling early general elections.
The communists had for months threatened to end their support if the government pressed ahead with the deal and approached the International Atomic Energy Agency for its approval.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Monday that move would come "very soon".
Last Mod: 08 Temmuz 2008, 12:28