CA polls after arms issue settled: Sitaula

Biratnagar/Itahari, Sept 1 :

Home minister and coordinator of the government talks team, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, today said constituent assembly polls could be held after Maoists keep their weapons in camps and the UN verifies them.

Addressing a gathering of Nepali Congress workers in Biratnagar, Sitaula said the management of Maoists’ arms is the major issue currently. “The United Nations will keep the rebels’ weapons in barracks and verify them. Constituent assembly elections could then be held,” he said.

As the rebels are violating the ceasefire code of conduct, they cannot be trusted, he said. Stating that a lot of homework has to be done to hold elections to a CA, Sitaula said there is no guarantee that the polls could be held within a year.

“The need before the polls is to follow the 5-point of code of conduct, implement an interim constitution, manage weapons of both the government and the Maoists and solve the problem of citizenship certificates,” he said. The government and the rebels would sign an agreement after the UN team comes to Nepal, he said. He added that preparation is underway to keep the army in the barracks to create an atmosphere conducive to the elections. He also said that the government is trying to make the police force strong given the changed scenario.

Addressing party activists in Inarua in Sunsari, Sitaula said Maoists would manage their arms themselves before a unanimous decision on the interim statute is taken, an interim government is formed and constituent assembly elections are held.

Sitaula accused the Maoists of terrorising rural residents with the help of weapons.

Stressing the need of implementing the 25-point code of conduct at all levels, Sitaula said its implementation at the central level only would not ensure terror-free and fair constituent assembly elections. Sitaula said a political culture must be developed where political parties and leaders will fear the people and not vice versa.