Talks with CPN-Maoist getting nowhere
KATHMANDU, Aug 10: Some key leaders from the major political parties have intensified inter-party negotiations in the last couple of days in an effort to bring the agitating CPN-Maoist on board the election process, but they seemed to be getting nowhere. CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and some other leaders from that party held repeated rounds of talks with CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya in the last few days but UML leaders closely involved in the negotiations are not very optimistic about the Baidya-led Maoist party joining the election process.
After a few rounds of talks with Baidya´s team, UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam and General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel found it a challenge to persuade them to participate in the polls scheduled for November 19. “As we listened to their views, it became clear that they aren´t interested in participating in the elections in November,” Gautam told Republica. Pokharel said that the UML leaders are for addressing some valid grievances of the Baidya-led party and exhibiting maximum possible flexibility in that regard. “But the talks have yielded no result as CPN-Maoist leaders have come up with vague proposals,” he said.
According to Pokharel, the UML leaders have said that the HLPC should and can address some concerns of Baidya´s party if the latter is sincerely committed to joining the elections and comes up with concrete and pragmatic proposals. “If Baidyaji has felt that he has been isolated in the process of forming the HLPC we can review that particular decision but he should be ready to join the HLPC,” said Pokharel. “If the party wants to defer the November poll and the announced election program, he should propose what should be the next date.” The UML leaders have also urged Baidya to recommend the names of ministers they want included in the present government.
“But they aren´t ready to commit themselves to the November polls, can´t give any alternative ideas and don´t discuss these specific issues with concrete proposals of their own,” he said. CPN-Maoist Secretary Netra Bikram Chand said that they would participate in the November polls only if the other parties are ready for a broader agreement beforehand on the major contents of the new constitution. “There should be a political agreement on the contents of the new constitution.
There should be clarity about what type of new Nepal we are going to build. We should reach a deal on the principle of inclusion, land reform and rectifying mistakes in international treaties that Nepal signed in the past,” Chand told Republica. “There is no point joining the election process if the other parties aren´t ready for this.” Baidya and Chand held talks with the UML team led by Madhav Kumar Nepal at the latter´s residence, with the UCPN (Maoist) team led by the party´s chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at the residence of Post Bahadur Bogati and with Nepali Congress leaders at NC Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel´s residence. Chand said they repeated the same view with leaders from all the parties.
“An agreement on the contents of the new constitution is the major demand of our party,” he said. UML leaders said that they wanted sincere commitment from the Baidya-led party to participation in elections because they suspect that the former rebels may just be buying time to prepare for urban insurrection. “We can´t rule out anything because in Baidya´s party there is still a strong view in favor of political revolt, which is the party´s official political line,” said a leader involved in the negotiations.
“More political instability, political void and anarchy would be favorable for them for such a purpose.” UCPN (Maoist) leaders including Chairman Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai, Narayankaji Shrestha and Post Bahadur Bogati reached Nepal´s residence at Koteshwar on Friday to discuss the matter. Leaders privy to developments said UCPN (Maoist) leaders have argued that there is no point wasting further time in a bid to persuade Baidya´s party, while UML leader Nepal was for making a last ditch effort to include them. “We have now started talking about preparing for the election even if Baidyaji is not ready for November polls because we can´t waste any more time,” said Gautam.
33 parties to expand its campaign
KATHMANDU: The 33-party alliance, led by CPN-Maoist, on Saturday welcomed the government’s fourth invitation for decisive talks on one hand, and decided to expand its campaign against the election if it is held at the existing state of affairs on the other. In a meeting today, the protesting parties, which have now come to the negotiation table with the government and High Level Political Committee, took the fresh invite positively, and decided to fix the date, time and venue of further talks at mutual understanding later.
The same meeting approved the proposals on agitation that a task-force prepared on Thursday. According to the decision, now the parties will build up mechanism in all districts including those in the Capital Valley to carry out the agitation. As per the agitation programme, the parties will hold seminars to “establish the 18-point proposal” amid the people. The alliance will hold campaign against the election at status quo in the constituency-level from September, according to a statement issued by CPN-Maoist General Secretary Dev Gurung on behalf of the alliance.
At their first round of formal talks on Tuesday, August 6, the alliance had put forth the proposal before the HLPC, seeking postponement of November 19 polls and the dissolution of the HLPC and the Khil Raj Regmi-led interim government. Today’s meeting was held at the CPN-Maoist central office in Buddhanagar.