RAM KUMAR KAMAT/ PRAKASH ACHARYA
KATHMANDU: UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s clarion call to Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities to launch street campaign in favour of single ethnic identity based federalism vitiated the atmosphere in today’s four-party meeting.
Unlike in the previous meetings where negotiators would try to win hearts of their rivals, today they openly confronted each other and demanded clarifications.
According to NC negotiator Bimalendra Nidhi, his party President Sushil Koirala confronted UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for ‘inciting Janajatis’ for a street movement.
In the previous meetings, the negotiators would normally refrain from criticising their rivals but today the NC and the UML negotiators breathed fire against the UCPN-M watering down the hope of a settlement on federalism.
Nidhi said the negotiators could not dwell upon issues of federalism in detail today, as the NC and UML took strong objection to the Dahal’s statement.
“The UCPN-M is fueling communal conflict by calling different caste-based groups to take to the streets and push the country on the brink of a vicious ethnic conflict. When Congress and other party leaders are calling for harmony among different communities, the Maoist leader is fueling for communal conflict. It is irresponsible and objectionable,” Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said.
“Dahal’s call can fuel communal conflict. It is seriously objectionable,” UML leader KP Oli said.
After the parties failed to reach consensus on the issues of federalism despite series of intra and inter-party meetings throughout the day, the leaders of three major parties traded charges against one another for blocking the ways to promulgate the new constitution by May 27.
Nepali Congress negotiator Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said, “As the number, names and boundaries of the federal units are the issues to be listed in the index of the constitution, it can be dealt later. However, the UCPN-M is focusing on federalism and sidelining other important issues deliberately.”
The Maoists are not serious to conclude the issues of new constitution on time, he claimed.
“During personal talks, the Maoist leaders support and appreciate our proposal of having eight pradeshes on the basis of multiple identities but when they come to formal meetings, they show practical difficulties and want to impose their ideas propagated during the war time,” Dr Mahat said. According to Dr Mahat, the NC and the UML proposed to give the Pradesh Sabhas the final authorities to name the pradeshes but the Maoists insisted to give three optional names from which the pradesh sabhas can determine the name.
Oli said, “The Maoists are a major obstacle in constitution writing.”
Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said, “The Congress and UML don’t want federalism and thus they are creating hurdles.” “NC and UML leaders are positive in the morning and try to obstruct the voting process during the day time in the name of consensus but do not come to consensus in the evening talks,” Shrestha blamed.
Another extension on cards?
KATHMANDU: The NC and UML have taken strong objection to PM’s Political Adviser Devendra Paudel’s statement that the PM was doing groundwork to extend the CA deadline. Paudel said in an interaction that the CA would not be dissolved without promulgating a new constitution and the political parties would agree on extending the term of the apex body.
Kathmandu: UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has urged party leaders and cadres representing ethnic communities to hit the streets in a peaceful protest against those groups, which have been organising street protests against identity-based federalism. (Details on Page 3)