‘Power centres’ want to squash Maoists, Dahal at HQ meet

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
The amendment bill will not be revised. Nor will the government withdraw it

Dec 4, 2016-Hours before top leaders of five of the seven constituents of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of agitating Madhes-based parties, held “a lunch meeting” with Indian Ambassador Ranjit Rae, CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Saturday morning was giving a briefing to his leaders that “power centres want to crush Maoists”.

“Both southern and northern neighbours are against the idea of federalism in Nepal,” a leader quoted PM Dahal as saying in the Maoist headquarters meeting. Dahal was making a case for holding local level elections, said the leader.

 Registration of a constituent amendment bill in the Parliament Secretariat has further complicated politics, with rift between the governing parties and the main opposition widening and the Morcha, at whose insistence the bill was registered, refusing to take ownership of it. 

The amendment bill has even sparked protests in parts of Province 5.

The government efforts to convince the Morcha to participate in the elections have cut no ice with the Madhesi leaders.  

“We now need to focus on elections,” the leader quoted Dahal as saying at the meeting, insisting that declaring dates for the polls would build pressure on the Morcha. 

But Morcha leaders, who are pressing the government to revise the bill, have even warned of foiling the polls if the government tries to move ahead ignoring their concerns. 

According to Maoist leaders, Chairman Dahal is for holding another round of discussion with the Morcha, most probably on Saturday.

“The government will take the UML into confidence and declare dates for elections,” Dahal, according to party sources, told the Maoist leaders. Amid all this, the fate of the amendment bill hangs in the balance.

According to Maoist leader Mani Thapa, the prime minister is in no mood to revise the bill as demanded by the Madhesi leaders. “Nor will the government withdraw it,” Thapa quoted PM Dahal as saying. “The government would wait and see for some time and then hold final discussions with the Morcha and then act accordingly.”

Later in the afternoon, addressing the party’s politburo meeting, Dahal again repeated the government position that it will go for polls.  

“We had to register a set of amendment proposals. We have done that,” said PM Dahal’s chief political adviser Chakrapani Khanal. 

On ongoing protests and the UML’s stiff opposition to the bill, Khanal said: “The UML need not bother [about it].” 

“We are holding discussion with the UML about declaring the election dates,” said senior Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha. “The amendment bill will stay inactive if the Morcha refuses to come on board. If the Morcha supports the proposal, preparations for elections and discussion on the amendment bill will move forward simultaneously.” 

Published: 04-12-2016 08:03

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