Government, CPN trade barbs over failed talks

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
With both the government and the CPN leaders blaming each other for delays, talks between the two sides appear a long shot

Dec 3, 2018-As the tenure of high-level talks panel is nearing its end, the government and the

Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal have blamed each other for failing to hold talks.

The High-Level Political Talks Team, which was formed three months ago under former minister Som Prasad Pande with the purpose of holding dialogue with political forces outside the mainstream politics. The Cabinet recently extended its tenure for 15 days.

But with both the government and the CPN leaders blaming each other for delays, talks between the two sides appear a long shot.

“Bringing the Chand-led CPN to the mainstream politics was the main task of the panel. But its significance ended after they did not show interest,” said Suresh Ale Magar, a member of the panel.  

Earlier, the CPN had set a few preconditions for talks--release of all their arrested leaders and cadres; clarity over government’s stance on the CPN. For creating environment for the dialogue, the talks team had urged the government to release four CPN central leaders, including its Spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma, who were repeatedly arrested from the Supreme Court premises.

The government has clarified through public statements that they consider the CPN as a political force and wanted them to join the mainstream politics.

The talks panel was interested to continue its efforts on bringing them to the talks table, but the government extended 15 days only to complete its report, closing down the possibility of talks with the CPN.

“The government did not show interest as the CPN leaders seemed reluctant to

hold talks,” said Leela Bhandari, another member of the talks panel. He, however, added that they had been in touch with some of the CPN leaders. The Pande-led panel includes two former colleagues of Netra Bikram Chand--Suresh Ale Magar and Leela Bhandari.

The talks team had reached out to them to send an official invition for talks before Dashain, Bhandari explained, but they asked the panel to wait till the festival end. The CPN leaders again asked the talks team to put it on hold till the Tihar festival.

“After Tihar, the CPN leaders said they would inform us when to send the invitation for talks. That’s when the panel started doubting over their intentions,” Bhandari said.

But CPN Spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma said they did not hear from the government.

“We’ve been waiting for government’s call for dialogue, but we don’t know what prevented them from doing so,” said Biswokarma, adding that the government had floated the agenda of talks and not his party.

The panel is working over time to complete talks with 22 different groups they have started dialogue ever since the government decided to extend the deadline till Dec 11 to complete its report.

Published: 03-12-2018 07:25

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