NEW DELHI  - India's communists on Monday accused the country's ruling coalition of putting the interests of the United States before its own people, in its bid to seal a controversial nuclear pact with the US. The furious allegations came as the government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh tried to lobby support ahead of a confidence vote in parliament next week sparked by the withdrawal of left-wing parties opposed to the deal. "The country is in a crisis. The price of goods is touching the skies," said Marxist leader Prakash Karat, who has spearheaded the left's criticism of the deal. "But Manmohan Singh's government is paying no attention to these problems of the people. They want to give permission to America's big multinational companies, like Wal-Mart, to come here." A vote in parliament on July 22 will decide the fate of both Singh's government and of the bilateral deal, which would allow India to purchase civilian nuclear technology after being shut out for decades. Singh argues the pact is crucial for India's energy security and continued strong economic growth. The deal requires nuclear-armed India, which has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, to open its civilian reactors to UN inspections. The left, along with the Hindu nationalist opposition, has expressed fears that allowing these inspections of the country's civil nuclear programme " as demanded by the Americans " will harm India's strategic weapons programme and bring the traditionally non-aligned country too close to the United States. US officials have been piling pressure on India to speed up the process, warning of an ever narrowing window of opportunity to get the deal through before November 2008 presidential polls. New Delhi first has to clinch a pact with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, allowing international inspections of its civilian nuclear reactors. The Indian government last week moved forward on finalising a safeguards agreement with the IAEA, prompting a bloc of left-wing and communist parties to pull support for the Congress-led alliance and seek next week's confidence vote. The Congress party and its remaining allies, however, say the government has enough support to survive the vote, for which it needs 272 votes out of the possible 543 in the lower house. Both the communists and the left are now working to woo Indian's undecided lawmakers. Indian officials, meanwhile, have defended the safeguard agreement, pointing out that it will cover only nuclear facilities New Delhi voluntarily designates as civilian-use only. Once it gets approval from the IAEA, India must also get agreement from the 45-member Nuclear Suppliers Group that exports nuclear fuel and technology, and from the US Congress to conclude the nuclear deal.