Deuba lays down preconditions for statute

KATHMANDU: Senior leader of the Nepali Congress Sher Bahadur Deuba today laid down three preconditions- management of Maoist combatants and weapons, return of the property seized by Maoists and dismantling of the Young Communist League- for promulgating the new constitution.

Addressing a programme organised to mark the 89th anniversary of late Mahendra Narayan Nidhi, Deuba said, "Until and unless the Maoists' armed force is managed, there is no meaning of promulgating the new constitution.

"The NC will protest if the Maoists' continued their excesses and violence against NC workers," he added.

Meanwhile, Unified CPN-M leader Barsha Man Pun 'Ananta' said that people could not renounce violence until there was the possibility of excesses from the establishment. "So long as the UCPN-M and other parties have fundamental differences over a number of issues, including 'pluralism', even the extended time period would not be sufficient to write the new constitution.

"The leaders must dare, at the earliest, to compromise on these issues to give the

new constitution on time.

And they should give up thinking about extending Constituent Assembly's tenure," Ananta said.

He reiterated that the constitution writing and management of combatants must go hand in hand. "If the combatants are managed prior to promulgation of the constitution, we have doubt that the reactionary forces would halt the entire process of promulgating the new constitution," he reasoned.

However, Hridayesh Tripathi, leader of the Sadbhavana Party brushed aside Ananta's argument saying that if the combatants are not managed prior to the constitution, the UCPN-M could again prolong their management. "Combatants are needed to protect the new constitution," he added.

CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari accused the High-Level Political Mechanism of remaining defunct, although its task force had recommended that it take decisions on contentious issues.

Similarly, NC leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat who is also the member of the Special Committee to Supervise, Integrate and Rehabilitate the combatants, said the committee was unable to move ahead with its works due to Maoists' non-cooperation. "If a good constitution was not promulgating by May 28, the CA tenure should be extended," he added.

NC leader Pradip Giri urged the UCPN-M to renounce violence. NC general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi and senior journalist Harihar Birahi lauded the role of late Nidhi in the non-violence movement of the country.