CPN-Maoist cadres protest jute mill privatization plan
MORANG, Nov 30: Cadres of the CPN-Maoist have protested the government plan to run the Biratnagar Jute Mill by giving permission to an Indian company. Organizing a mass meeting at the Jute Mill premises on Thursday, CPN-Maoist affiliated All Nepal Trade Union Federation slammed the government decision saying that the government of privatizing the country´s oldest and one of the largest industry one again.
Chairman of Federation Ram Deep Acharya and central committee member of CPN-Maoist Indra Angwa accused the government of betraying the labourers by again privatizing the jute mill. Agitations from the CPN-Maoist are likely at a time when the government is preparing to run the jute mill that was closed for long due to lack of raw materials and capital crisis as well as political interference. The government had given Rs 500 million to the labourers and workers through golden handshake some three years ago while shutting down the jute mill. The government has already given permission to the Indian company Wimsom International to operate the mill for five years. The Indian company has promised to pay Rs 13.5 million in revenue every year to government.
Chand visits China third time in seven months
HONG KONG, Nov 30:As political parties are engaged in parleys for the formation of a new government in Kathmandu, CPN-Maoist leader Netra Bikram Chand ´Biplab´ is once again on a China visit. This is Chand´s third China visit in the last seven months.According to sources, Chand, accompanied by CPN-Maoist politburo member Hitman Shakya and former vice commander of the now-dissolved People´s Liberation Army (PLA) Bibek, on November 23 left for China and is scheduled to return to Kathmandu on December 1.
The latest China visit by Chand, who proposed CPN-Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa as the prime ministerial candidate, has been kept a secret. Chand is believed to have met Chinese political leaders while in Beijing. Chand´s visit, arranged shortly after the Communist Party of China (CPC)´s national congress that picked Xi Jinping as China´s next president, is being viewed as a move to garner support for Thapa´s candidacy.
Chand´s China visit is meaningful also because he was on the forefront of CPN-Maoist´s anti-India agitation last month, in which vehicles bearing Indian number plates had been prevented from entering Nepal and Hindi movies were banned. Within CPN-Maoist, Chand is known as a leader who strongly advocates for another armed struggle against the state. CPN-Maoist sources also inform that plans are afoot to militarize CPN-Maoist´s youth wing led by Chand. Chand had played a key role in forming CPN-Maoist by splitting away from the UCPN (Maoist) some time ago. Chanda had labelled the Baburam Bhattarai-led government as anti-nationalist while forming the new party.
Four months ago, Chand had made an abrupt China visit when his party´s central committee meeting was underway in Kathmandu. Before that, just weeks before CPN-Maoist was formed, Chand had reached Beijing. Prof Wang Hong-wei, of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, whom Chand had met during his first China visit, says that Chinese political leaders and thinkers give suggestions to Nepali politicians but they never intend to be involved in Nepali affairs. “As a friend and good neighbor, we would urge Nepali politicians to be united and maintain political stability,” said Prof Wang. “I had also given some suggestions to him (Chand). But, the results were not as expected.”
Baidya calls on President Yadav
KATHMANDU, Nov 30: CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya called on President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at the latter’s residence, Shital Niwas, on Friday morning. During the meeting, Baidya told the president that agreement among only four major political forces could not be accepted as national consensus. His deputy CP Gajurel and party General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa were also present on the occasion. The party has already proposed Thapa as its prime ministerial candidate to lead consensus government. While opposition parties have not reacted to the proposal yet, Baidya has claimed that UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and current PM Baburam Bhattarai have committed their support to the proposal.
Disqualified’ PLA combatants lay siege to UCPN-M headquarters
KATHMANDU: Hundreds of ‘disqualified’ PLA fighters have been laying siege to Unified CPN-Maoist headquarters in Paris Danda, Koteshwor, since yesterday, demanding that the party address their concerns at the earliest. Security personnel in huge numbers have been deployed to avert any confrontation and damage to the party office. The ‘disqualified’ fighters, who prefer to call themselves ‘unverified’, today claimed that they have taken the party headquarters under their control. Lenin Bista, who is leading the ‘disqualified’ fighters, said the combatants were ‘not verified in a proper way’ and that they were forced to leave cantonments with only bus fares in their pockets. The move is the latest one in their series of protests the disqualified fighters have organised in the past.
They said the party turned a blind eye to their plight and concerns despite their pressure campaigns several times. UCPN-M Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai-led government, after several rounds of talks with them, had decided to allocate Rs 600 million in order to give Rs 2 lakh to each of the disqualified fighters. The move was challenged in the Supreme Court and the court in the first week of November issued a stay order, forcing the government to hold back. Bista claimed that as many as 200 former combatants have been staying put outside the party headquarters while some 150 are on the office premises (inside the gate). The fighters had yesterday padlocked the party office but unlocked it at 3:00pm today following a mutual understanding with party leadership. “We have pitched tents outside the headquarters and surviving on beaten rice and dalmoth (a ready made snack made of golden gram or red lentils).
This is the survival technique the party taught us during the time of war,” said Bista. UCPN-M Spokesperson Agni Sapkota said the party has taken the disqualified fighters’ concerns seriously and that the leadership has told them to maintain calm. But the fighters said they didn’t believe their leaders’ words anymore. “We want their words to be translated into action. We will not leave the party headquarters until the leadership expresses its commitment in writing,” said Bista and added that they would launch stern protests in the Valley and throughout the country if the government kept on dilly-dallying. He warned that former fighters will otherwise make the leaders and ministers’ life difficult and that they would not mind vandalising government vehicles.
Karan Singh in Nepal with ‘political mission’
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA KATHMANDU, Dec 1: Amid deepening political crisis in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) and the failure of political parties to form a government for holding fresh election, senior leader of the ruling Indian National Congress of India Karan Singh arrived in Kathmandu, Friday. Though Singh, who is also the chancellor of Banaras Hindu University (BHU), arrived here to extend an invitation to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, political analysts here say Singh clearly has a “political mission”.
President Yadav is due to visit India on December 25 to receive the honorary Doctorate of Letters degree to be conferred by BHU. Except for a 150th anniversary function of Madan Mohan Malviya, where he attended as a guest speaker on Friday, Singh will spend most of his time in political parleys during his two-day stay in Kathmandu. On Friday evening, Singh attended a dinner hosted by his close relative and Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Pashupati SJB Rana at the latter´s residence in Maharajgunj. UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sushil Koirala, senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal, Rastriya Janashakti Party Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, Rajeshwor Devkota and Bishwo Bandhu Thapa were among those attending the dinner party.
Political sources said Singh is due to hold separate meetings with President Dr Yadav, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Dahal, NC President Koirala, UML Chairman Khanal and RJP Chairman Thapa on Saturday.
“The meetings are very much likely to dwell on current political situation,” said a source. Sources confirmed that Singh will also meet former monarch Gyanendra Shah. He will fly back to New Delhi on Sunday. The visit of Singh, who is also the chief of Foreign Relations Department of the Indian National Congress and close confidant of party chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is being viewed with much interest in Nepal. “The visit of Singh cannot be just dismissed as a personal visit. This clearly has a political mission,” said Dhruva Hari Adhikari, a political analyst. Singh had last visited Nepal in April, 2006 apparently to help the now-deposed king Gyanendra and agitating political parties reach a deal.
Adhikari argued that since India is very much worried about political instability in Nepal and what many analysts in India describe as “growing assertiveness of China in Nepal”, the latest visit of Singh could be an indication that India is mulling to revise its policy toward Nepal.
“Since India acknowledges that political instability in Nepal will seriously affect it, the visit could be taken as India´s fact-finding mission to revise its policy on Nepal as a republic,” he further said. Analysts believe that India is worried about instability in Nepal with the political parties, who joined forces against then King Gyanendra, failing to reconcile differences and come up with a new constitution.