Maoist protest plans aimed at disrupting polls: MPs

Kathmandu, August 21:

Lawmakers today accused the CPN-Maoist party of unveiling protest programmes to “disrupt” the constituent assembly elections. They said the protest programmes unveiled yesterday by the Maoists were meant to “divert” the agenda of November 22 polls.

Maoist MPs, however, defended their agenda charging the government of failing to ensure a favourable environment for the November 22 polls. They said constituent assembly polls would not be possible unless the government addressed their demands that include declaration of a republic before elections and ensuring proportional electoral system, among others. MP Pradeep Gyawali of the UML termed the Maoist statement as “disappointing”. He suggested the Maoist leadership to immediately withdraw their protest programmes. Urging the Maoists to change their behaviour, Gyawali said: “Your (Maoist) behaviour and the pre-poll conditions would obstruct the election process.”

Lawmaker Mohan Basnet of the Nepali Congress (NC) expressed concern over the “physical action” announced by the Maoist. “This attitude has raised serious doubts on the possibility of free and fair polls,” he added.

Bamdev Chettri, MP, of the Maoists, however, reiterated his party’s stance of declaring the country a republic before constituent assembly elections. He also asked the NC to make its stance clear on monarchy.

MP Sudarshan Baral Magar of Maoist party, ridiculed the seven parties for raising suspicion on the Maoists on the issue of constituent assembly polls. “If the government is really interested on holding constituent assembly elections, it must first ensure a favourable environment,” he added. MP Gokarna Bista labeled the Maoist statement as “shocking”. He urged the Maoists to be serious on the issue of holding polls.

Meanwhile, the NC today expressed its serious concern over the CPN-Maoist’s recently announced 22-point struggle plan. NC Vice-chairman Sushil Koirala, in a statement issued today, said the plan, by a party which is a part of the coalition government, proves that CPN-Maoist has breached all the agreements reached earlier, including the 12-point pact and the comprehensive peace agreement.