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Ruling NCP leaders ‘reaching out’ to Chand party leaders for talks

  • Ruling party leader Janardan Sharma is holding talks with high-level Chand party leaders in a bid to bring them to mainstream politics, an aide to the former home minister says.
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Apr 8, 2019-

The KP Sharma Oli government, which has taken tough stance against the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, is also reaching out to top leaders of the banned outfit in an attempt to bring them to mainstream politics, according to leaders of the ruling Nepal Community Party.

The government’s latest move followed widespread criticism of its decision to ban the Chand outfit.

An aide to former home minister Janardan Sharma said that he had been holding talks with high-level leaders of the Chand party. But he refused to divulge details.

“Sharma is in constant touch with the CPN leaders and is attempting to bring them to mainstream politics,” he said, requesting anonymity. He also claimed that the former Maoist deputy commander Sharma had also reached out to his former colleague Chand over the phone.

The Oli administration has given the Chand party until mid-April to shun violence and join for talks. But almost a month after the government imposed ban on activities of the Chand outfit, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa on Sunday said that the government has been trying to bring ‘Biplab group’ on board mainstream politics.

“The Biplab group has been a threat to development, peace and security. And we are trying to bring them to mainstream politics,” Thapa told a press conference in Pokhara on Sunday. Thapa had reached the Lake City for a two-day seminar on security issues.

Thapa, who is also a former colleague of Chand, said the government had banned their unconstitutional and illegal activities only.

Another minister of the Oli Cabinet, Chandra Prakash Khanal, had dropped a hint to the Post last week that there might be informal talks with Chand party leaders at party leader’s level.

Sharma had also led a campaign in 2015 to unify all Maoist-leaning forces. The team which also included Jayapuri Gharti, Kul Prasad KC, who is the incumbent minister for Internal Affairs in Province 5, Hitman Shakya and Dharmendra Bastola, who is a standing committee member in the Chand party. KC and Shakya were in the Mohan Baidhya led Maoist party at that time.

Before the government banned Chand’s activities, ruling NCP leaders including Mani Thapa and Dev Prasad Gurung had held talks with the CPN.

According to a CPN central member, ruling party chairpersons Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Home Minister Thapa and Energy Minister Barshaman Pun have been taken a tough stance against the Chand party, while other leaders have soft corner for their former Maoist colleagues.

Asked whether informal talks with his party leaders were still on, the central member said he “believes party leaders are very much in talks with ruling party leaders”, without divulging details.

Earlier, senior NCP leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had publicly said that even he would be happy to mediate if the Chand party wished to hold talks with the government.

“If the government lifts the ban on the Chand party, I believe they could come to the negotiating table. It has become an issue of prestige for them now,” said one standing committee member, who had reached out to Chand party leaders, asking anonymity.

While the CPN central member said the government should first withdraw the ban and release all its leaders to create a conducive environment for talks. “An announcement is expected in 4-5 days from the party,” he said.

The party had ditched a call from the government’s talks team for dialogue following the release of its major leaders, which irked the Oli administration.

Published: 08-04-2019 10:57

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