Oppn to ‘quit CA’ if process forced

  • UCPN (Maoist)-led bloc warns of leaving CA if chairman presses with questionnaire committee formation
- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, Kathmandu
Oppn to ‘quit CA’ if process forced

Jan 23, 2015-

Amid the ruling parties’ firm position to initiate the voting process “unilaterally”, the opposition bloc led by the UCPN (Maoist) has warned that it could take the extreme step of walking out of the Constituent Assembly.

With CA Chairman Subas Nembang stating on Friday that Sunday’s meeting would be decisive in initiating the voting process for deciding the contentious issues of statute writing, opposition leaders said they will not accept any proposal in the CA without agreement with them.

Maoist leaders said it would be easier for them to walk out of the CA process rather than “abandon their progressive agendas”. As the CA is scheduled to meet on Sunday, top Maoist leaders are discussing their future strategy.

The first priority, leaders said, is to block the proposal to form the Questionnaire Committee, and if that fails, to hit the streets. They believe it would not be possible to pass any proposal from the CA without expelling them from the meeting.

“If we are expelled from the meeting, it will create an atmosphere for us to walk out of the CA process,” said a senior Maoist leader.

Madhes-based parties are pressing UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to intensify street protests. However, Dahal is of the view that the opposition parties should wait for some time.

“We may walk out of the CA if past agreements are not enshrined in the constitution, and we are constantly being sidelined,” said Upendra Yadav, chairman of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal.

According to leaders, opposition parties are weighing the pros and cons of abandoning the CA process.

They warned of tussles inside the CA if the proposal was forcefully presented in the CA meeting. “We are determined to take any step to prevent the proposal of forming the questionnaire panel for initiating the voting process on the disputed issues,” said Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel.

He reasoned that they would be in a difficult position if they allowed the voting process. He said they were ready to take harsh measures to protect their “progressive” agenda.

The UCPN (Maoist) is in alliance with the CPN-Maoist which boycotted the CA election and is against the idea of promulgating the constitution from it. CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya is pressing Dahal to leave the CA as it would pave the way for the “unification of the two parties”.

Nembang to form panel on Sunday: Leaders

In an indication to end the ongoing obstruction of the Constituent Assembly by the UCPN (Maoist)-led 19-party bloc, CA Chairman Subas Nembang has said that the agenda to form the Questionnaire Committee would be concluded in Sunday’s meeting.

Nembang’s statement comes a day after the Assembly missed its self-imposed deadline to come up with the new constitution.

Leaders familiar with the developments claimed that Nembang himself would read out the proposal to form the committee which would be endorsed by the CA.

“The CA advisory for Sunday is the chairman tabling the proposal for forming the Questionnaire Committee,” said Nepali Congress Joint General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka.

The ruling NC and CPN-UML, and the Maoists held separate meetings with Nembang on Friday. Nembang’s move is perceived as a result of the pressure from the NC and the UML to move ahead with the committee formation process. A meeting of the ruling alliance had earlier decided to request Nembang to take the process forward.

Though leaders of the NC and the UML claimed that even the Maoists are okay with the move, the party remains tight-lipped on its position. “We understand the difficulty of the [party] chairman and are willing to help him. But that will be for bringing out a constitution in consensus, not by the CA process,” said Maoist Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokharel. He added that the party would come up with its official position on the matter on Saturday.

Sources said the party would like to seek some more time to find a middle ground on the way forward.

The Maoist-led bloc has been obstructing the CA, preventing the tabling of the proposal to form the committee which would prepare for a vote in the Assembly on the disputed issues. The alliance has been against the move arguing that the statute needs to be promulgated through consensus.

They have been preventing NC Chief Whip Chinkaji Shrestha from tabling the proposal, an act repeated on Friday too. The CA has been hampered by a standoff with the Maoist-led front obstructing the CA proceedings.

Nembang has been constantly reminding the parties that the solution is to move ahead. “The January 22 deadline went past without even an agreement on the fundamental issues. Since all eyes are on us, the solution is to move ahead,” Nembang said on Friday.

Published: 24-01-2015 09:12

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