Talks on to resolve deadlock

KATHMANDU: Former prime minister and president of the Nepali Congress Girija Prasad Koirala today held separate talks with UCPN-Maoist Prachanda and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal at his Maharajgunj residence.

The talks chiefly dwelt on finding a way out of the prolonged political deadlock that has hampered the functioning of Parliament. Koirala and Prachanda, during their 45-minute one-on-one meeting, discussed a four-point draft of a consensual sankalpa prastav jointly prepared by the ruling Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. The draft proposal was presented to the Maoist taskforce team on October 3 for the latter's feedback. Emerging from the meeting, Prachanda said his party's taskforce would present an amendment proposal to the NC-UML-prepared draft on the sankalpa prastav.

"Our party's recently-held standing committee meeting has taken the draft positively though it is silent on the move initiated by the President on reinstating the then army chief, Rookmangad Katawal," former PM Prachanda said. Prachanda resigned on May 4 after President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav revoked his government's decision to sack Katawal.

Prachanda said the taskforces of the three parties sit together and they would discuss both the drafts in a day or two. He said the House stalemate would end once the taskforces of both the sides iron out their differences. He said the much-talked about high-level political mechanism comprising top leaders of the three major parties and others would come into force after his return from a week-long visit to China. He is flying to Beijing tomorrow morning.

NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula informed that Koirala had urged the Maoist chief to reach an understanding on ending the political deadlock and form the political mechanism at the earliest. The mechanism is expected to expedite the tasks of concluding the ongoing peace process and drafting new constitution within the deadline set by the Interim Constitution.

"Prachanda wanted some changes in the NC-UML prepared draft proposal on the sankalpa prastav. But NC in no way wants to drag the President into controversy in the name of discussing his move through the prastav," Sitaula clarified. He hoped that the deadlock would end only after Tihar.

The NC president briefed PM Nepal after Prachanda departure. Ishwor Pokharel, UML general secretary, who was privy to the meeting, said formation of the political mechanism was a must to end the deadlock paving the way for adopting the constitution within May 28, 2010.

He added that the deadlock would end provided that both the Maoists and ruling parties iron out the differences on the contents of the sankalpa prastav.