KATHMANDU: In a dramatic turnaround, the Unified CPN-Maoist today proposed 10 pradeshes to be carved out on single ethnic-based identity, as backed by agitating ethnic groups and United Democratic Madhesi Front, only to rile the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.
The development at the meeting of the four political forces — UCPN-M, NC, UML and UDMF — today led negotiations to an impasse, raising fears that there will be no constitution by May 27.
Leaders of all the four political forces told the media that with talks ending in a deadlock, a new constitution by the stipulated time was in a state of uncertainty. The leaders even went on to blame each other’s party.
NC and UML leaders accused the Maoist party of contriving a plot and said they were using two-pronged strategy — using ‘pressure and influence tactics’ to promulgate the constitution or continue to remain in power, if the tactics failed. “They are creating pressure from the streets by ‘inciting’ different ethnic groups. In addition, the Maoist prime minister is inducting ministers from even those parties that have only one representative in the Constituent Assembly in a bid to influence the number in the Constituent Assembly,” said a UML leader. “If there is no constitution, they want to remain in power.”
But Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Republic leader Raj Kishore Yadav stood in defence and blamed NC and UML. “They want federalism without names and identity, which is unacceptable to us,” they said. Even as they said a new constitution was almost uncertain, Maoist and UDMF leaders, however, kept on clutching at straws, saying ‘the voting process will settle the disputed issues’.
Leaders but reiterated that attempts to forge consensus will continue.
“Will there be a constitution by May 27 — through consensus or voting process? The question is moot. But we believe we will be able to promulgate the constitution by settling all issues through voting,” said Shrestha.
NC leader Ramchandra Paudel did not mince any words. “It is difficult to promulgate the constitution by settling the disputed issues through voting within the stipulated time,” said Paudel. “The Maoist party is the main stumbling block to consensus, as it has backtracked from past agreements time and again. The situation is complicated.”
“There’s no consensus yet,” said UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal who had questions aplenty: “When will there be consensus? When will we prepare the draft of the new constitution? When will we promulgate it?” Nepal added that everything was in a sate of limbo.
According to Paudel, Dahal told the four-party meeting that he could not convince UDMF and ethnic groups on 11-pradesh model on which the parties had reached an agreement on May 15.