RPP-Sharma in favour of referendum option

Kathmandu, October 30:

At a time when the country is in a debate mode on the constituent assembly or referendum, the Rabindra Nath Sharma-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) today chose the referendum way as the best option to decide the fate of monarchy. Interestingly, the RPP also proposed what it called the “Greater Democratic Front”, which observers analyse is a counter to the CPN-UML and Maoists’ proposed Republican Front and denied by NC president and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.

RPP chairman Sharma said even though his party floated the idea of the Democratic Front, he hoped that the Nepali Congress (NC) would take the initiative. “Girija Babu would be the right person to take the initiative,” he told a press conference today after the three-hour long central committee meeting at a hotel in Kathmandu.

The RPP, which came down heavily on the government for failing to maintain law and order situation, cautioned that “unnecessary sloganeering” for a republican set-up could compel the monarchy to become autocratic. “Do you think the institution will remain quiet if one tries to throw it away forcefully without holding elections to constituent assembly or referendum?” Sharma asked but hastened to add that his party would readily accept the people’s mandate even if the country went for elections to a constituent assembly.

“Forget about two-third majority, we are ready to accept 52 per cent of the votes,” he said.

He, however, reinforced the need for a referendum saying: “Let people decide themselves.”

The party also lambasted the coalition government for “failing in all aspects”, including maintaining the law and order situation.

“There is no presence of the government outside the Ring Road area,” a party press statement said, maintaining that the people are “squeezed between two parallel governments.” The party has also demanded that the Maoists must be disarmed to ensure free and fair elections. It, however, emphasised on a national consensus before going for elections to a constituent assembly.