Ruling and opposition parties at odds over handling of the Chand outfit

  • Nepali Congress says high-handed approach could sow the seeds of conflict
  • Prime minister maintains tough stance, calls Chand party ‘pseudo communists’
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Mar 26, 2019-

The main opposition, Nepali Congress, has taken exception to the way the government is dealing with the Communist Party of Nepal, led by Netra Bikram Chand.

A Parliamentary Party meeting of the Congress on Monday dwelt on the government handling of the Chand outfit.

“We have concluded that imposing a ban [on Chand party] is a wrong move and the government should correct its decision. In the meantime, the Chand party also should surrender its weapons and join the dialogue process,” Bal Krishna Khand, chief whip of the Nepali Congress, said.

Days after two blasts in the Capital in as many weeks, the government on March 12 decided to crack down on Chand’s party, saying its activities were more criminal than political.

Since then, scores of Chand party leaders, including standing committee and politburo members, have been arrested under criminal and destructive charges.

Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Party of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) On Monday, Prime Minister and party Chairman KP Sharma Oli reiterated that the government would not bactrack on its decision to take stern action against the Chand outfit.

“The government will control the criminal and destructive activities [of the Chand outfit] within 15 days,” Oli told parliamentarians from his party. Terming the Chand outfit as “pseudo communists”, Oli said: “We will make them join the political mainstream by April 13. The group will be brought to mainstream politics, if possible politically, if not by even putting 'the pseudo comrades' behind bars."

The Congress party has objected to such a tough stance of Oli, suggesting that the Maoist offshoot should rather be persuaded to come to the negotiating table.

“The government is sowing seeds of conflict by banning Biplav’s party,” Khand told the Post. Biplav is the nom de guerre for Chand.

“The government has started the politics of negation,” Khand charged.

A section of the Nepali intelligentsia and some members of the ruling party also have been making a pitch for bringing the Chand outfit to talks.

Many ruling party leaders have said they were not taken into confidence before the decision to hunt down Chand and his cadres.

“Even I came to know about the decision through newspaper reports,” former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said in Chitwan on Monday. He censured his own party for not holding discussions among the members while making such decisions.

Nepal is one of the several ruling party leaders who have expressed their ignorance about the decision taken against the outfit.

There have been growing concerns about the government’s handling of the Chand party with experts saying there are no specific laws to deal with the outfit the way the government wants.

A former Nepal Army official told the Post that the government should handle the Chand party as per the law.

“Dialogue is the best option. Government agencies must be thinking that the Chand outfit cannot match the strength of state security agencies,” said Binoj Basnyat, a retired major general.

Some ruling party members said Oli is encouraged to take action against Chand’s group after successfully bringing CK Raut, a long-time “Free Madhes” campaigner, to the political mainstream.

After a six-year struggle to what Raut called “create a separate Madhes”, he signed an 11-point deal with the government on March 8.

Published: 26-03-2019 06:50

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