CPN-UML refuses to halt Mechi-Mahakali campaign

  • The party has decided to resume campaign from Hetauda on March 10

Kathmandu, March 8

The CPN–UML has turned down the government’s plea to halt its Mechi–Mahakali National Campaign.

At a  meeting held between leaders of the three major parties -- the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre -- here today, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal urged UML to put off its campaign, arguing that such a move would  help maintain peace and security.

“The government wants us to put off our campaign but we told the PM that we’d continue with it,” senior UML leader Jhalanath Khanal told THT after the meeting. The party has decided to resume the campaign from Hetauda on March 10.

UML leaders also raised the issue of security threat UML cadres were facing in Tarai districts after the Saptari killings. They alleged that their party office was torched and their cadres were displaced from Saptari due to UDMF cadres’ intimidation. “We told the PM that if the government could not ensure  adequate security for us, we can  ourselves arrange for the same but that would be like taking the law into our own hands, which we want to avoid,” he added.

Khanal said they told leaders of the ruling parties that activities being carried out by the UDMF cadres in Saptari were not political but criminal. He told the PM not to even think of any alternative to local elections scheduled for May 14.

CPN-Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said UML leaders also expressed displeasure at the recalling of security chiefs from Saptari.

Shrestha said Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Bimalendra Nidhi told UML leaders that the government was committed to holding local level polls on schedule. Nidhi told UML leaders to maintain restraint. He assured them that the Saptari incident would be probed and culprits would be punished.

NC leader Prakash Man Singh told the meeting that all sides needed to maintain restraint in order to prepare conducive environment for polls, according to Singh’s personal aide UP Lamichhane.

Meanwhile, the eight fringe parties, which are supporting UML’s stance on the constitution amendment bill, said they would stand by the UML on the Saptari incident, said UML’s Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader Subas Chandra Nembang. After the three-party meeting ended, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli held a one-on-one meeting. Aides close to Dahal and Oli declined to give details of the meeting.