Parties to file nominations for polls under proportional representation system today
KATHMANDU: Parties wishing to contest November 19 Constituent Assembly election will have to file their nominations under proportional representation system tomorrow. A total of 130 parties that have registered with the EC are eligible to apply for election under PR system. CPN-Maoist, which is leading the alliance of poll-opposing parties, has not registered itself with the election body. Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said this means that the CPN-M cannot file its nomination for election under PR system even if it wished to.
Yadav said the EC would start printing PR ballot paper two–three days after receiving the final lists of the PR candidates. Parties are supposed to submit the final lists of their PR candidates on October 4. “Printing PR ballot paper is more complicated than the FPTP ballot papers and we have a tight schedule for the same. We cannot wait for any party to come later,” Yadav said and added that November 19 election was inevitable now.
He said if the CPN-M decided to join poll process, the only option available for the stakeholders, particularly the government, was to register the CPN-M through a special provision, probably through an Ordinance. But Unified CPN-Maoist leader Khim Lal Devkota, who is also a lawyer by profession, said since party registration and election schedule were not guided by any law, the EC could still allow the poll opposing parties to complete the formalities. Devkota said if the CPN-M decided to join the poll process, the party could be accommodated before the EC published its final list of candidates. He said CPN-M’s decision made during Pokhara meet to disrupt CA polls was still intact, and therefore, it was unlikely that the party would join the poll process.
The EC deferred election schedule by a week after the High Level Political Committee and the government made a formal request for the same hoping that the CPN-M could be cajoled into joining the poll process but the party remains unmoved by the major parties’ overtures. Secretary of the CPN-M Dev Prasad Gurung reiterated that his party would not contest election in the present scenario. He said registration of the party was not their major concern. Resignation of government head Khil Raj Regmi from the post of chief justice and deferral of polls by three –four months are the CPN-M’s key demands. “Major parties have been preparing for polls for last 8-10 months and yet they have not had enough time. Why can we not get a few months for preparation?” Gurung wondered.
As per schedule, the EC will publish names of parties contesting under PR system on Tuesday. Parties wishing to withdraw names could do so on Wednesday. The EC will publish the final list of the parties and grant them election symbol on Thursday.
Baidya alliance seeks fresh talks with four major parties
KATHMANDU, Sept 29: As parties prepare to go to polls even without participation of the agitating political parties, the 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist) has urged the four major political parties to sit for fresh negotiations. Issuing a press statement on Sunday, the agitating alliance has urged the major parties to take fresh initiatives for consensus. “There is no alternative to drafting a new constitution after forging national consensus to resolve current problems facing the country,” said a statement issued by CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung on behalf of the agitating alliance.
The alliance in the statement said they had floated a four-point demand while withdrawing some of their original demands. The agitating alliance said that the four major parties had pushed the country to the brink of conflict by rejecting their four-point demand even as a majority of political parties had accepted their demands. While accusing the four major parties of making a historical blunder by rejecting the four-point demand, the alliance has also taken strong exception to the decision of four major parties to deploy the national army for poll security. “It would be a huge mistake to deploy army for election,” said the statement.
The agitating alliance also reminded that Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA), which is an integral part of the Interim Constitution 2007, does not have any provision that allows deployment of the national army for polls. They have also argued that the attempt to deploy army in the integrated security plan could eventually invite military rule. This comes a day after the agitating CPN-Maoist sent a letter to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging the latter to ask Chairman of the Interim Election Council Khil Raj Regmi to resign as chief justice.
CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya, party Vice-chairman CP Gajurel and Secretary Dev Gurung had handed over the letter to UN Resident Coordinator Jamie McGoldrick at a meeting between the two sides held in Lalitpur, Saturday evening. Leaders of the CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the UCPN (Maoist), argued that the decision to deploy the national army during election would be a blatant violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)-2006, which paved the way for then underground Maoist party to join mainstream politics.
CPN-Maoist march past against CA elections
BIRGUNJ: CPN-Maoist today organised a march past as part of its election boycott campaign, in Birgunj. CPN-M cadres wore red T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan ‘boycott the CA polls’ near district police office. The cadres chanted slogans with party flags and rallied around places like Ghantaghar, Maisthan, Adarshanagar before returning to Ghantaghar to conclude its a protest meeting. Addressing the mass, CPN-M politburo member Kul Prasad KC warned that his party would obstruct the November 19 CA election at any cost. He added that they were much more encouraged by the huge presence of people in the march past.
Talking to THT, KC said his party would not be limited to the meeting room meeting and e TV screen. Cadres from Parsa, Bara and Rautahat districts and from the industrial corridor were present in the march past. KC urged industrialists to boycott the election. “It will be fatal if anybody runs after candidacy in the polls,” he warned adding, “The nation will plunge into a great clash if the government holds the election despite the protest”.
CPN-Maoist defends Irishman’s speech
KATHMANDU, SEP 28 – The CPN-Maoist has objected to media reports concerning the police’s search of an Irish national who was spotted giving anti-election speeches alongside the party’s General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa a few days ago. The party claims that the Irishman identified as Peter Tabin, 70, had not spoken anything objectionable as reported by the media. The party said Tabin was putting his remarks as a “party’s guest and a friend of the Nepali people”. “It’s his natural right to express his solidarity with our campaign as a guest. It’s not interference in Nepal’s internal affairs,” reads the statement issued by Bishnu Hari Nepal, who is in charge of the party’s pro-public department.
The party has challenged the government and the police to initiate action against American, Indian and European delegates who, according to it, have interfered in Nepal’s internal matters through “pressure on the government and the four parties to hold the election on November 19 at any cost”.
500 leaders, cadres part ways with CPN-Maoist
KATHMANDU, SEP 25 – The CPN-Maoist , which is desperately trying to stop defections at the grassroots level, suffered a telling blow on Tuesday as Mahendra Paswan, a prominent Madhesi and Dalit face in the party campaigning against the November election, deserted the party along with nearly 500 leaders and cadres. Later in the day, Paswan and another CPN-Maoist Central Committee member Rabindra Patel announced their own party named the CPN-Maoist (Revolutionary).
The new party, fifth Maoist party in Nepali politics, has set up a 51-member ad-hoc committee comprising district level leaders of Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari, Saptari, Sunsari and Siraha. The defectors said they quit the party after the CPN-Maoist leadership failed to heed the 13-point note of dissent they expressed against the party line endorsed by the Pokhara CC meet. Paswan, who was close to CPN-M Chairman Mohan Baidya and Secretary Netra Bikram Chand, claimed that they were forced to form another Maoist party after the leadership discarded their voice on agendas of federalism, Madhesi issues. He said the party had lost its path after they decided to forge an ‘undeclared coalition’ with the royalists.
The leaders also said they had objection over the party’s anti-election line. “They (CPN-M leadership) are conspiring with foreign powers to convert Nepal into Afghanistan. We had no other choice but to leave the party after they did not pay attention to our concerns,” said Patel, who was party district in-charge of Rauthat. Patel said their newly formed party will secure the rights of the Madhesi people by participating in the November 19 Constituent Assembly (CA) election.
“We are thinking about collaborating with other Madhesi parties or there could be unification with other parties. We are looking forward to offers from other parties,” he said. Besides the CPN-Maoist (Revolutionary), the UCPN (Maoist) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist , the Matrika Yadav-led CPN (Maoist) and Proletariat Maoist led by Bhawana Bidrohi are the Maoist parties. Following the party’s decision to boycott the CA polls, an increasing number of CPN-Maoist leaders, especially from the party’s district and state committees, are deserting the party. Only a few weeks ago, a number of former People’s Liberation Army’s division sub-commanders had left the party.
“Several leaders and cadres, especially those having amassed properties through illegal means, or those facing party’s disciplinary action, are in the mood to leave the party. A few more CC members are expected to quit the party this week,” said a party politburo member on condition of anonymity, hinting at CC member Hari Gyawali and some of his colleagues.
Gurung warns of military rule if army mobilised
KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung on Sunday said that his party is ready to take part in the Constituent Assembly (CA) election, scheduled for November 19, if Chairman of the Interim Election Council (IEC) Khil Raj Regmi resigns as the Chief Justice. Speaking at an interaction organised at the Reporters Club in the Capital today, leader Gurung clarified that the CPN-Maoist is favour of drafting the constitution through second CA.
During talks with the major parties, Gurung said, the CPN-Maoist had demanded to form another government under Regmi’s leadership after he gives up the top judicial post According to him, the dissident Maoists did not seek nullification of the presidential decree issued in March. Saying there is no alternative to consensus, Gurung reiterated that the CPN-Maoist will opt for polls after the country’s interim chief executive gives up the post of CJ. He dubbed the decision to mobilise the Nepal Army for polls security as a mistake, saying it could be counterproductive. According to him, the country would face military rule if the NA is mobilised during polls at the existing state of affairs. “The situation of 1960 will be repeated if parties failed to forge consensus,” he warned. With the help of army, the then King Mahendra had taken over, dissolving the BP Koirala-led elected government in 1960.
CPN-M shoots off letter to UN Secy General
KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman who is also in-charge of the party’s international department, CP Gajurel today sent a memorandum to UN Secretary General Ban ki-moon via the residential coordinator of the UN. Gajurel handed over a letter to the resident coordinator of the UN System’s Operational Activities for Development in Nepal Jamie McGoldrick, raising serious concern about the unilateral deployment of Nepali Army for the November 19 Constituent Assembly polls.
CPN-M Secretary Dev Prasad Gurung said the party has drawn the attention of the UN to the unilateral deployment of the army without consulting the signatories of the Comprehensive Peace Accord. United Nations had played the role of mediator in Nepal’s peace process and therefore the party decided to draw the world body’s attention alleging that the government decision to deploy the army for election was a gross violation of the CPA, said Gurung. The party also decided to draw the attention of all envoys of influential countries to the unilateral deployment of the army.
Gajurel also met Swiss envoy Urs Herren and informed about the decision to deploy the army. Gurung said the party will also meet other envoys and inform them about developments. Citing possible obstruction of November 19 CA polls by the 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist, the government had decided to deploy the national army. This had irked the CPN-Maoist led alliance. Asked if the letter contains anything about commitment to polls, Gurung said they would never make any kind of request to any foreign forces regarding country’s internal matters, including polls. He clarified that they had decided to draw the attention of the UN only because they had mediated the historic peace process of Nepal.
DHULIKHEL: Demanding the release of their cadre Raman Pariyar, who was held for setting a bus ablaze two weeks ago in Dhulikhel, the sister wing of the CPN-Maoist today warned of transport strike of Helambu Transportation Service from October 3. Issuing a press statement on Sunday, All Nepal Revolutionary Transport Workers’ Association warned of transport closure in the run-up to the festivities. The Maoist cadres have been claiming that Pariyar is innocent and was made a scapegoat in a plot hatched by the local traders and police personnel.
‘Foolproof’ election security nationwide
KATHMANDU, SEP 29 – Just as candidates are poised to start campaigns in districts, the Ministry of Home Affairs, which has started deploying an estimated 200,000 security personnel for election securty, said on Saturday that security officials and district election s officers working in all 75 districts have been put on high alert. The security assurance comes after the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist captured some election related materials from Jajarkot district on Saturday morning.
The Home Ministry said the security arrangement, as laid out in its Integrated Security Plan, is strong enough to handle any obstructions on the election process and ensure a free and fair election . The political parties are asked to register their candidates at the Election Commission by October 3. The Election Commission and the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered their subordinate bodies to move ahead in close coordination before carrying out any election related activities after the cadres of the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist captured dummy ballot papers, election directives, handouts and other stationeries weighing about 30 kg. “We have written to all 75 district election offices to coordinate with security forces before conducting any election related activities,” said Chief Election Commissioner Neel Kantha Uprety.
Prospective poll candidates fear attacks, seek security
KATHMANDU, SEP 26 – As poll-opposing forces plan to intensify their anti-election activities, leaders who will be contesting the November 19 Constituent Assembly (CA) election are seeking better security arrangements and a thicker presence of international election observers in their constituencies where the security threat is high. The leaders fear possible attacks at a time when the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist has been threatening action against poll candidates after the nomination process ends. Sources at the government as well as individuals privy to the election observation process say they have been receiving a lot of requests from prospective candidates to deploy a maximum number of security personnel and observers in their constituencies.
“Candidates are very much worried about their security after Mohan Baidya’s party decided to stay out of the election process and threatened action (against the candidates),” a source at an international election observer group told the Post. According to the sources, top leaders from all major political parties—UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhes-based parties—are concerned about possible attacks from the CPN-Maoist party. “Efforts to bring the Baidya-led party on board the election process went futile primarily due to the negligence of the government and the four-party syndicate. This has posed a serious security threat to election candidates,” said Rastriya Prajantantra Party leader Prakash Chandra Lohani. Leaders say the large number of political parties and candidates, ban on the use of helicopters, Baidya party’s plan to obstruct the polls and former Maoist combatants are major challenges in holding the election.
CPN-M goes on extortion spree
KATHMANDU, SEP 25 – A week after talks with the government failed, the CPN-Maoist , the only major force opposing the November election, has launched a massive nationwide campaign to collect funds to finance its anti-election activities. The Post has learnt that the party has sent electronic messages, letters and made threatening phone calls, demanding donation from individuals, state-owned institutions and private companies, including schools, banks, manpower agencies and industries.
CPN-Maoist leader Haribhakta Kandel admitted collecting ‘monetary assistance’ from the business community. Though he said the way they are collecting funds does not amount to extortion, those who received the letters and the phone calls said it was clear extortion. “We have received some emails from CPN-Maoist cadres, demanding money and they have also made follow-up calls which sounded very threatening,” said an official of a leading commercial firm in Narayanghat.
“They have also said that the staff will have to raise the money themselves if the firm fails to pay the party,” the official said. The CPN-Maoist has been demanding anything from Rs 100,000 to Rs 1 million. Party leaders said they are doing what other political parties have been doing for years. “Why are people marking us only while the major political parties are collecting huge sums of money from business institutions? We are seeking help from the public to protect national sovereignty and independence,” Kandel said.
It is learnt that the party also approached a reputed educational institution in Kathmandu this week and demanded money “to purchase guns to foil the poll process.” A manpower office representative said they are having a hard time dealing with “all the extortionists.” “We have become an easy target of both pro- and anti-election forces,” the representative said. Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies, along with other business associations, has submitted a letter to the government, objecting to the extortion campaigns.
NA battalion in Uttarakhand for joint Nepal-India military exercise
KATHMANDU, Sept 24: A battalion comprising about 850 Nepal Army (NA) personnel is currently participating in Indo-Nepal Battalion Training that commenced on Monday at Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand, India with the aim of tackling terrorism and enhancing defense co-operation between the two countries. According to NA Directorate of Public Relations (DPR), Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Gaurav Shumsher JB Rana is scheduled to attend the concluding ceremony of the two week-long joint military exercise.
Thapa warns of armed struggle
HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE CHARIKOT: CPN-Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa today warned a second armed struggle would be launched if the army was deployed for election. Addressing his party’s march-past programme at Dolakah headquarters Charikot, Thapa said CPN-M would hold round table conferences in every village and write a people’s constitution. He accused the incumbent election government and the four major parties of imposing polls unilaterally. “Our party is committed to oust the apolitical government,” Thapa added. Thapa held that the public was no longer interested in voting.