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Talks with CPN-Maoist fruitless

  • No roundtable conference • HLPC to go ahead with polls

PRAKASH ACHARYA

KATHMANDU: All attempts to bring the CPN-Maoist on board the election process failed today. Parties in the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) have now decided to go ahead with the November 19 polls.

Both HLPC and CPN-M announced that talks had “broken down” as there were unbridgeable differences on

the modality and purpose of the CPN-M-backed idea of roundtable.

In response to HLPC coordinator Sushil Koirala, who urged the CPN-M to reconsider, CPN-M Chairman Mohan Baidhya also asked the HLPC to reconsider its stance, said sources.

The CPN-M-led 33-party alliance today proposed giving the “roundtable conference” a constitutional status, mandating it to decide the process of promulgating the constitution.

Parties in HLPC rejected the CPN-M proposal outright, calling it a ploy to obstruct CA polls and to foil the idea of adopting a new constitution through the CA.

According to CPN-M, the constitution could be promulgated by the roundtable and later endorsed by “elected representatives.

“Although we had agreed in principle to a roundtable to pave the way for polls, talks broke down because of differences in perception regarding the purpose and modality of the conference,” said UCPN-Maoist leader Narayankaji Shrestha.

They — the 33-party alliance — proposed settling all disputed issues, including contents of the constitution and its endorsement process, through the roundtable. They, according to Shrestha, even said the roundtable could last up to six or seven months, a proposal that made the CPN-M motive suspicious to parties in HLPC.

Previously, HLPC had expressed readiness to postpone the November polls till April if CPN-M was ready to take part in the election. But CPN-M made no commitment in this regard, even if the poll was to be rescheduled. Instead, it said the roundtable should decide everything.

“Talks broke down as the CPN-M came up with a proposal that went against the CA election. Now the roundtable is dead,” said UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal.

CPN-M leader Dev Gurung said it was disappointing that HLPC did not agree to the roundtable. “They just wanted to give legitimacy to the March 13 deal they had reached,” he said, “We will protest and challenge them to hold CA polls.”

Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said HLPC realised the CPN-M was using talks to buy time to disrupt the November polls.

Earlier, CPN-M, during a meeting with UCPN-Maoist, had expressed reservations regarding the entire peace process that began in 2006, saying that it did not address their agenda of change.

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