Kathmandu, September 6 :

Chief Maoist negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara and deputy commander of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA), Nanda Kishor Pun (Pasang), said today that they would in no way decommission their army until a new constitution was made through an election to a constituent assembly.

They said their party would not commit the mistakes the Nepali Congress and the then CPN-ML made by giving up their armed struggle in the past before achieving their goal of total democracy.

“There is no question of decommissioning our army and we will not accept anything less than democratic republic. It will be suicidal for us if we lay down our arms before the promulgation of a new constitution and formation of a new government,” said Mahara, addressing the opening ceremony of the fourth conference of the Maoist-aligned All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) at Khula Manch. He said that a new national army should be formed by merging the PLA and the Nepali Army after the constituent assembly polls. Mahara made it clear that his party did not want to establish a communist dictatorship due to the “prevailing power balance”, nor did they want to establish New People’s Democracy.

He said that the April movement would not have become a success and the king would have conducted general election around this time hadn’t the PLA backed it. He said the King had to bow down due to the PLA. He rapped the government for appointing Lt Gen Rukmagat Katuwal to the post of Chief of Army Staff despite their strong opposition. Stating that the PLA broke the Nepali Army’s monopoly on arms, PLA’s deputy commander Pasang said the PLA was formed to establish “democratic republic” in the country. Pasang said they did not return to talks table with a “defeated mentality”, but as per the 12 and eight-point agreements with the seven-party alliance (SPA). He warned the SPA not to be guided by Washington and New Delhi. “Otherwise, they will be wiped out from politics,” he said. “The SPA must understand the fact that we did not return to talks to surrender to their agendas,” he said. Pasang said the SPA should hand over power to the Maoists if they could not take any decision on interim statute, interim legislature and constituent assembly.

President of the Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chandiraj Dhakal said political stability was not possible without economic progress. He urged the ANTUF to resolve industry and commerce-related problems through collective bargaining. He accused the parliament of attacking private sector without realising the problems faced by it.