CPN-M threatens to disrupt polls
KATHMANDU, APR 01 – An alliance of 33 parties led by CPN-Maoist on Sunday said they would only hold talks with President Ram Baran Yadav if the head of state assured that the ‘unconstitutional’ decision to form a chief justice-led government would be scrapped. The alliance’s decision came two days after the four major forces and the interim election government decided to hold talks with agitating parties.
The alliance, led by the breakaway Maoists, is disrupting the update of voter roll in districts and has warned to disrupt the proposed elections. The meeting of the protesting parties held at CPN-M headquarters Buddhanagar concluded that it is meaningless to sit for talks with the current government formed by the “syndicate” of four major political forces. “The current unconstitutional government has no status to hold dialogue with us,” CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said. “We will only hold talks with the President.”
The agitating parties are preparing to handover a memorandum, requesting the Election Commission to halt the voter roll update on Monday. They have stressed that all the election-related activities should be halted until the constitutional process is brought into track by making an agreement between all parties over the new roadmap. A statement issued by CPN-M on the behalf of 33 parties urges the government and the Election Commission to stop all the election-related activities until there is a new cross-party agreement. The parties have also expressed reservations over the government’s preparation to introduce an ordinance against organised crime, which recommends stringent action for any activities aiming to obstruct elections.
“The plan to bring the ordinance is intended at suppressing the agitation. It shows that the government is just staging a drama in the name of holding talks,” adds the statement. The stance from the agitating parties came a day after President Ram Baran Yadav urged four major forces to hold dialogue with smaller parties to create a ‘favorable atmosphere for elections.’
EC officials detained for 5 hrs
NUWAKOT: Activists of Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist detained three Election Commission (EC) officials for five hours at Duipipal in the district on Sunday. The Maoist cadres took VDC secretary Dil Bahadur Bogati, office assistant Purushottam Lamichhane and computer operator Binod Adhikari under control on accusation of defying their warning to halt the voter registration process in the district.
Maoist district leader Narayan Nepal later freed the ‘detainees’ in presence of Federation of Nepali Journalists district chairman Rajumitra Khanal and secretary Kapildev Khanal in Bidur, the district headquarters.
Baidya-led Maoists reject talks offer
KATHMANDU, April 1: A meeting of the 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist on Sunday rejected the government´s offer for talks. At a meeting held at the CPN-Maoist head office in Buddhanagar, the alliance decided that they would instead sit in talks with the president, saying the Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led government does not have the authority to hold talks with them. “The president himself should take initiatives for talks to correct his unconstitutional and undemocratic March 14 move. We cannot sit for talks with the unconstitutional government and the syndicate of UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front,” said CPN-Maoist secretary Dev Gurung.
He also made it clear that the alliance has rejected the government´s offer for talks. The government had formally decided to hold talks with the dissident political parties on Friday. The government had also formed a talks team led by home minister Madhav Ghimire to hold talks with the dissident parties. According leaders participating in the meeting, the alliance has termed the Regmi-led government unconstitutional. “The president now has the last chance to correct his unconstitutional move. So, we decided that we can talk with the president,” said Mani Thapa, chief of the Revolutionary Communist party of Nepal, a member of the 33-party alliance. The meeting also decided to submit a memorandum to the election commission on Monday to stop the election process.
Issuing a joint press statement, the alliance also expressed serious concerns over the recent statements that the government would take action against the agitating parties. “We concluded that the government is not serious about holding talks with the agitating parties and is trying to disturb the environment for talks. The government is moving ahead in an autocratic way,” reads the statement.
The meeting also concluded that the government is planning to suppress protests through intimidation. “The government is trying to spread terror among the people by registering cases against the protestors,” added Gurung. The alliance also said that the election commission´s activities would mean nothing unless the 14 March agreement between the four parties is scrapped. The alliance also demanded release of its arrested cadres saying the government should create an environment for consensus among the political parties. According to Thapa, 16 party cadres have been arrested.
First form a govt of political parties: Baidya
Separate meetings of the High Level Political Committee and the government have decided to hold talks with the dissident political parties and persuade them to participate in the coming elections. Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist is in the forefront of those disrupting the ongoing voter registration drive launched by the Election Commission. Republica”s Kiran Pun talked with CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya on issues surrounding the coming elections.
Have you received any formal proposal for talks?
-No. We just heard about it via the media.
What would be the response of your party and your alliance if you received a proposal?
-First of all, we will demand the scrapping of the March 14 agreement of the parties [UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified Democratic Madhesi Front]. Secondly, a meeting should be called of all the parties to select a government from among the political parties.
Will these two conditions be put forward at the talks table or as a pre-condition for talks?
-These are our pre-conditions for talks. These conditions should be addressed first. Then only we will consult our comrades [33 parties in the alliance] to set out our future moves. For this, the decision which is unconstitutional and un-political should be scrapped.
Suppose your preconditions are fulfilled, what would be your agenda for talks?
-After cancellation of the decision, we can talk about how to hold the CA elections. The four parties have done various things including minimization of the proportional representation seats. After holding talks among the parties we will move ahead through consensus.
They have already formed the Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi-led government. Will not demanding dissolution of the government before sitting at the talks table only invite confrontation?
-It is not our choice. They headed that way intentionally. When the talks were underway, we [from our party] urged the president to call an all-party meeting to find a solution. But he did not do so. We also put forward such an agenda at the all-party meeting. But they did not respond. They wanted to bypass us. It is our compulsion to choose tit for tat. We did not want confrontation. First, I don”t think the CA elections will be held. Secondly, if the election is held, the right of the common people will not be addressed.
In this situation, the constitution is not going to be in the hands of the people and of nationalists. The situation is not in our hands. So, we have launched a protest program.
So, your party is disturbing the voter list updating process.
-Yes, we have directed our people to obstruct the process. It is a symbolic obstruction. We did it so that they would heed our voice.
So, if they call you for talks, will you stop such activities?
-We will not sit at the table without our concerns being addressed. We will decide after holding a meeting with our alliance partners. I heard that the UCPN (Maoist), NC, UML and the Madhes-based parties also want to hold talks with us. What is their legal and constitutional authority and competence for holding such a meeting? Only the president and the chief of the election government have such authority. It is not that we don”t want talks with the parties. We will go for talks but not if there is no meaning to it.
You mentioned that the high-level political committee has no authority to hold a meeting. Who should call the meeting then?
-Talks should be for a solution. The concern is whether or not the issues are being addressed. That means, in the existing situation, there is no meaning to talks. -If the president calls you for talks, will you accept, or what would be your reaction? In this present situation, we have decided to boycott them — the president and the government.
We would not sit at the table without some indication the four parties” agreement will be scrapped.
The major parties went ahead bypassing your party. Now they are calling for talks. Is there any seriousness in it or is it just a formality?
-I think they are trying to hold talks just for the endorsement of their decision. If they wanted to be serious, they would have done so in the past. Earlier, we had said time and again, mainly to the NC and UML, that if they moved ahead leaving us out, they would fail. They left out a major revolutionary section of the party. How can they move while bypassing us?
And the CA elections? It should be understood that we have not said we will participate in the election or boycott it. We have said that the election cannot be held in this way. Without addressing the genuine concerns, it cannot be held. The party central committee meeting will also be called soon. We will take a formal decision about the election.
And your announced protest programs?
-They would be continued. After their completion, we will launch more protests after reviewing the political situation. In your observation, is the country heading the wrong way. Nepali politics has gone into the hands of foreigners.
That is clear. Indian expansionists and other countries lay out the master plan. Another thing, the national sovereignty of Nepal is in serious crisis. The very existence of the country is in crisis, let alone the strengthening of democracy. Sooner or later the country is going to become another Sikkim. We nationalists, leftists and all the parties should be united to save the country. Also, we should move against the four-party syndicate and their partyless system. If we success in this course, we will save our country and our national sovereignty.
CPN-Maoist cadres chase away EC officials
KAVRE, APR 01 – Cadres of CPN-Maoist chased away the Election Commission officials at Pokhari Chauri VDC in Kavre district on Monday morning. The officials who reached the district for voter registration process had to leave the VDC without completing their work. CPN-Maoist cadre s have said that they chased the EC officials after one of them arrested its cadre Deep Lama and did not release him.
Lama was arrested while obstructing the voters’ registration process in the district. District Secretary Deepak Devkota informed that obstructing the voters’ registration process was a part of their political programme.
CPN-Maoist gets in the EC’s way
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE NUWAKOT: CPN-Maoist activists today kidnapped three officials deployed by the Election Commission (EC) for updating voters’ registration process in Duipipal VDC, Nuwakot. Maoist activists abducted VDC secretary Dil Bahadur Bogati, Binod Adhikary and Purushottam Lamichhane from Kamrudevi Higher Secondary School. According to Bogati, five Maoist cadres had surrounded them and took to the jungle on motorbike. The kidnapped EC officials were released six hours later.
Maoist activists had freed the EC staff in the presence of journalists at Pipaltar of Bidur Municipality. Local administration suspects that the EC staff had connived in the abduction. Immediately after their release, the EC staff were produced before the CDO Dulluraj Basnet. Police are recording the statements of the EC employees separately. DSP Bel Bahadur Pandey said investigation is underway. CPN-Maoist Nuwakot district secretariat member Narayan Nepal admitted that they had kidnapped the EC staff to obstruct the Election Commission’s work as per party’s central policy.
Despite EC staffs’ abduction, voters’ registration process continued smoothly at Duipipal VDC. Nuwakot district Election Commission office had sent another team to continue the work. CPN-Maoist obstructed Election Commission’s work to collect and update voters’ registration process in Gotri VDC, Bajura. Maoist cadres had pelted stones at the EC staff and chased them away from doing their work.
CPN-Maoist activists had also looted the election related materials from Katari VDC Office in Udayapur. District Election Office Udayapur has confirmed that Maoist cadres had looted forms used to register voters’ names and other materials. Police today arrested 17 Federal Limbuwan State Council cadres including Premdip Thamsunhang, Mohan Begha, Lila Thapamagar, Manisha Rai, Sabitra Gurung from Damak in Jhapa for trying to disrupt Election Commission’s work. Area Police Office Damak Inspector Hari Khatiwada said all the arrested had been sent to District Police Office. Meanwhile, irked at the arrest of their leaders and cadres, Limbuwan today brought vehicular movement to a halt in Damak along East West highway for an hour.
Chand warns of armed struggle
ITAHARI: The CPN-Maoist, which has been objecting to the formation of the election government under Khil Raj Regmi and polls, has started its anti-election campaign from Sunsari, as part of which members of Yuva Dasta or National Youth People’s Volunteers, aligned to the party, took out a rally in Itahari of the district today. Around 1,000 Yuva Dasta members walked along the Itahari streets with lathis as they chanted slogans against what they called ‘four-party syndicate’, referring to the four major political forces — the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front — which engineered the formation of Regmi-led government.
Most of the agitating Yuva Dasta members, who served as fighters during the war, warned of taking up arms to foil the elections and ‘establish one-party communist rule’ in the country. Addressing the rally, CPN-Maoist Secretary Netra Bikram Chand dubbed the proposed election for a constituted-writing body a farce and conspiracy. “We have to have at least one lakh youth members under our National Youth People’s Volunteers and disrupt the elections,” said Chand.
He also warned the major parties against even thinking of polls without his party’s participation and informed that the CPN-Maoist would step up its anti-election campaign in all development regions. “We will explode bombs and open fires at election booths if other parties pushed for polls ignoring CPN-Maoist’s call,” said Chand who also imparted training to youth members here. A leader said that Maoist Secretary Chand had directed the youth members to be ready for an another armed struggle.
CPN-M averse to armed conflict: Gajurel
HETAUDA: Vice-chairman of the CPN-Maoist, CP Gajurel, has said his party would not opt for an armed conflict though it were not involved in the fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election to be held by the Interim Election Council formed in an ‘unconstitutional’ manner. Speaking at a programme in Hetauda Municipality Ward No. 4 of Makawanpur district on Saturday, the CPN-Maoist would participate in the CA election if the talks were held with the fringe political parties represented in the dissolved CA.
“The CPN-Maoist will organize city-centered protests by taking public support if it does not participate in the CA election,” he stated. “But we will not opt for an armed conflict,” added Gajurel.
Ncell denies acquisition of NST
KATHMANDU, March 30: Ncell has denied acquisition of Nepal Satellite Telecom (NST), a telecom company, and has said it has no plans to do so. The statement from a leading telecom service provider comes at a time when 87 workers, reportedly laid off from Hello Nepal of NST, are demonstrating at Ncell head office in New Baneshwore demanding re-instatement. Issuing a statement on Saturday, Ncell said it has no plans to merge with or take over NST.
“Operational responsibility of NST lies with its own management and not with Ncell,” the statement said. Ncell, however, has acknowledged that TeliaSonera, the biggest stakeholder in Ncell, is in negotiations with NST shareholders to evaluate consolidation opportunities pursuant to which a capital investment could be made by TeliaSonera in NST.
However, Ncell´s statement has not disclosed latest developments in negotiations between TeliaSonera and NST but adds both parties are committed to respecting employee and other contractual obligations in compliance with prevailing Nepali laws in case current negotiations are successful. Ncell has also expressed hope that current demonstrations are halted immediately, “as they are unfounded and disruptive and are impairing Ncell´s ability to provide uninterrupted and quality telecommunications services to Nepali customers”.
Activists of All Nepal Communications, Printing and Publication Workers´ Union (ANCPPWU), affiliated to the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, attacked the Ncell head office few days ago causing damage to Ncell building. They had demanded that Ncell take responsibility of the 87 workers of NST, who were laid off. The protesters also claimed that NST was taken over by TeliaSonera, which owns a majority stake in Ncell. “Now it´s Ncell´s responsibility to reinstate our friends at Hello Nepal (NST),” a statement issued last week by ANCPPWU Coordinator Janma Dev Jaisi said.