Disqualified ex-PLA men warn of disrupting polls
KATHMANDU, June 15: Expressing dissatisfaction with the government over announcement of the election date without fulfilling their demands, the disqualified former Maoist combatants have warned of disrupting the polls scheduled for November 19. The disqualified combatants have also warned of forming an 8th division of the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) as the seven former PLA divisions have already been dissolved. They claimed that the government and major four parties have invited a “disaster” by announcing the election date without forging consensus with the agitating parties.
“We will form an 8th PLA division if our demands are not addressed,” Sagar Limbu, chief the discharged PLA told Republica on Saturday. At a press meet held in the capital, Limbu also said that the 4,008 discharged combatants would form two PLA divisions. These combatants were discharged from cantonments in 2010 for being minors and late recruits. The discharged combatants have been staging protests saying their demands were not addressed by their party or the government. They have forwarded a four-point demand to the government. Among other things, they have also demanded removal of the “disqualified” tag. The erstwhile Baburam Bhattarai-led government had announced to remove the disqualified tag of the discharged combatants.
They have also demanded Rs 600,000 in rehabilitation package to each of the discharged combatants. In addition, they have also demanded release of arrested combatants. According to Limbu, around 70 discharged combatants are still in police custody. “We will stage all forms of protest, including enforcement of a general strike. We will change the form of the protests after forming a PLA division,” added Limbu. According him, the national convention of the discharge PLA to be held on August 5- August 7 in Butwal will announce formation of the new PLA division and protest programs.
Amend constitutional process first: Bhusal
KATHMANDU: Pampha Bhusal, Spokesperson for the CPN-Maoist, today said political parties should first amend the constitutional process to bring agitating parties on board. “We are not against the election if it fulfills all the due constitutional procedures,” said Bhusal at a workshop on ‘Constitutionalism and Democracy Building in Nepal’ in the Capital today. The programme was jointly organised by Association of Editors and Writers Kathmandu and People’s Review weekly in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Nepal.
Stating that Nepali parties were incapable of taking decisions, she doubted if they could deliver a new constitution even through a new Constituent Assembly. Bhusal said no party can acquire majority of votes in this existing election system and that parties have already announced that they would not hold the election until they were sure about securing majoring votes. She added that top leaders of High Level Political Committee had accepted Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as the government head because of compulsion.
Gurung dares Govt to hold polls on Nov 19
KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist secretary Dev Gurung today challenged the government and the four major political forces to hold the second Constituent Assembly election on November 19 bypassing his party and other dissenting groups, including the Upendra Yadav-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal and Ashok Rai-led Federal Socialist Party (FSP). Addressing a function here, Gurung said, “I challenge the government and the four major forces to hold the election bypassing us. We will not remain mute spectators. There will be serious consequences if they ignore our concerns.” The CPN-M, MJF-Nepal and FSP have teamed up against the election announced on Thursday as per the recommendation of the High Level Political Committee (HLPC).
The three parties have also announced Nepal bandh tomorrow, protesting the government decision to hold CA election on November 19. Accusing the government of resorting to fascism, Gurung warned that the country would plunge into yet another cycle of conflict after the election and also warned that they would take whatever step it might require against the election. He also alleged that the “drama of election” was being staged at the behest of foreign powers.
“We will not let the election take place on that day and we will resort to people’s revolt,” he said, adding: “Election is being held by destroying the Interim Constitution”. Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi, in an address to the nation yesterday, had appealed to all political parties to take part in the election to “restore the principle of separation of powers and to write a new constitution through the CA.” Gurung reiterated his party’s long-held stand that a roundtable conference involving all the parties should be held and the election should be held on the basis of a fully proportional representation system, that, too, only for 150 seats.
Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal, however, said election was the only option for drafting the new constitution and he hoped it would be held on the declared date even if the CPN-M and others chose to boycott it. Rijal said HLPC was ready to hold talks with the dissenting parties on all issues except their demand for the government’s removal. He said boycotting election or disrupting it would benefit the former king, who was looking for an opportune time to stage a comeback.
Bandh affects life in Valley‚ outside
KATHMANDU: The general strike jointly imposed by 44 different parties, including Mohan Baidhya’s CPN-Maoist, Upendra Yadav’s Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal and Ashok Rai’s Sanghiya Samajwadi Party, has affected the life of general public in the Kathmandu Valley and other major cities in the country on Sunday. Private and public vehicles have remained off the roads, and the market areas are closed. Schools, colleges and other businesses also have been affected due to the Nepal bandh. The bandh enforcers are seen sporadically assembling at the major junctions in the Capital. Several incidents of vandalism have been reported from outside the Valley, while the enforcers obstructed press vehicles in some places of the Capital. A passenger bus and a couple of trucks were vandalised in Dang this morning. Likewise, a private car was attacked in Abukhairini of Gorkha.
Protesting the “unilateral” announcement of Constituent Assembly elections for November 19 by the interim government, the dissenting parties imposed the bandh. Two separate fronts– one of them with 33 parties and led by CPN-Maoist — have dubbed the poll announcement “undemocratic” and “regressive act”, and demanded a “progressive political outlet” through a new agreement among the parties. Bandh called off in Rukum Meanwhile, according to our Rukum correspondent Adarsh KC, life in Rukum district has returned to normalcy after the nationwide bandh was withdrawn in the district.
Schools, colleges and markets have opened and transport has come into regular operation after agitating parties put off bandh due to the festival ‘Bal Puja’ of Magar community which falls on Sunday. An agreement was reached to this effect during talks with the leaders of the CPN-Maoist and members of the community. According to our Pokhara correspondent Rishi Baral, normal life has come to a grinding halt in the district since early morning. Shops have pulled their shutter down in the tourist hub. Apart from some emergency vehicles, vehicles have remained off the roads.
Due to the bandh, locals and tourists are facing difficulties in commuting. However, no incident of vandalism has been reported till this afternoon in the lake city. According to our Butwal correspondent Mahendra Thapa, all the factories in Rupandehi district, including those at Butwal Industrial Estate, are closed due to the bandh. No vehicles are plying the roads since early morning and academic institutions are closed. However, only few bandh enforcers are seen on the roads.
China hails poll date announcement
KATHMANDU, June 15: China has welcomed the government´s announcement of the date of fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) election. “As a friendly neighbor, China supports the constitution-making process in Nepal and hopes that the election to the Constitutional Assembly will be held in a smooth way,” said Spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday. The government on Thursday had announced to hold the CA polls on November 19.
Strike cripples Sankhuwasabha
SANKHUWASABHA June 16: Normal life in Sankhuwasabha have been hit hard by the indefinite shutdown enforced since last Thursday. The five fringe political parties including CPN-Maoist, Matrika-led CPN (Maoist), Federal Limbuwan, Federal Socialist Party and Peoples´ Liberation Party warned that they would continue the shutdown till their demands were met. They have alleged that the State was not responsive to their demands that include stoppage of transfer of employees from the District Hospital, Khandbari. The indefinite shutdown is to press their demand — fulfilling required quotas of doctors and formation of a committee to probe embezzlement at the District Hospital.
FNCCI condemns banda
KATHMANDU June 16: The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) has condemned the strike that was enforced by 33 different political parties, including CPN-Maoist, on Sunday. “We have been deeply disturbed by the attack on businesses and vehicles on Sunday by the organizers of the strike,” FNCCI said in a press release issued on Sunday evening. “The attack on shops in different districts, including Khotang, is unfortunate.” The FNCCI has said that the strike and attack on business and private property is against the spirit of political parties that claim to work for people´s welfare. “Activities like these have weakened our economy,” said the release.