Prachanda, Bhattarai skip NC tea party

Kathmandu, October 26:

At a time when the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist are at loggerheads on the issues of the declaration of a republic and the electoral system, the NC held a tea party today as part of the reconciliation policy initiated by NC’s founder leader BP Koirala.

Senior party leaders, party workers, well-wishers, diplomats gathered on the premises of the Birendra International Convention Centre (BICC), New Baneshwor, to join the party organised by the party.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and other senior leaders, who were surrounded by party cadres and media persons, shied away from the media. A cheerful Koirala was seen talking to diplomats.

UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, compared the current political situation to a “boulder”, which can be broken after intense and concentrated efforts. “The situation is complex since both the parties (NC and the Maoists) are sticking to their guns,” Nepal told reporters, adding that his party is making continuous efforts to break the ‘boulder’.

The best way to end the current deadlock, as Nepal suggested, was to accept the UML’s proposal of taking the middle path by passing a stricture for a republic from the parliament. The UML is making efforts to bridge the gap between the NC and the Maoists.

NC leader and former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba said the “unity of the seven parties will remain intact even if we go for voting in the parliament to decide on a republic and the electoral system.” Deuba said his party would vote against the Maoist and UML proposals in the parliament.

Though today’s tea party was attended by hundreds of party cadres, the number of senior leaders of other political parties was not as expected.

The CPN-Maoist leadership did not turn up at the tea reception organised by the NC. Maoist chairman Prachanda and second-in-command Dr Baburam Bhattarai were in Kathmandu, but they did not turn up at the reception.

“They (Prachanda and Dr Bhattarai) were busy with internal matters of the party,” Maoist lawmaker Khim Lal Devkota, who was the only Maoist leader to attend the tea party, told this daily.

Asked about the reason for the absence of senior Maoist leaders in the tea party, Dinanath Sharma told this daily there was no concrete reason for not attending the tea party. “It could be because of unfavourable circumstances.”

NC spokesperson Arjun Narsingh KC said Maoist MP Devkota represented the Maoists.