Parliamentary polls only way out: Shrish

Kathmandu, February 13:

The Minister of State for Information and Communication, Shrish Shumsher Rana, today said parliamentary elections, not elections to a constituent assembly, are the only way out of the crises facing the country.

He said the government would go for general elections as per the King’s commitment

in his address to the nation on February 1, 2006. The government was able

to conduct municipal elections peacefully despite doubts harboured by the organised

opposition parties that the government would not be able to do so, he said.

“There is no provision in the constitution, made by the parties themselves, to go for an election to a constituent assembly,” Rana, who is also the government spokesperson, told reporters at a press conference at the Media Village. He said the constitution cannot be changed just because the Maoists are mounting pressure for the same through the strength of guns.

“The political parties were the ones who claimed that the constitution is the best ever made.

But now they are saying that they want to change it through an election to a constituent assembly,” Rana added.

About the government’s stance on Maoist leader Prachanda’s recent interviews to national and international media, Rana said the King, on February 1, had made it clear that those who had gone astray would be given “security and opportunity” if they wished to join the mainstream

by giving up violence.

Replying to a query, Rana warned that the government would take action against those carrying interviews of terrorists. He said journalists must not forget that the Terrorist and Disruptive (Control and Punishment) Act is there and the government could use it if need be.

“Peace will be restored automatically if the Maoists lay down arms and give up violence,” Rana further said.