Kathmandu, June 5:

A member of the CPN-Maoist talks team, Dinanath Sharma, today suggested Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala talk to Indian authorities about the release of 137 Maoists, including CP Gajurel and Mohan Baidhya, who are languishing in Indian jails.

“About 40 of our friends are in Patna jail alone. I believe the prime minister will urge India to set free 137 of our cadres,” Sharma said at the Reporters’ Club.

He also said Koirala’s delegation should not sign any deal of national importance at this transition phase.

He said there were questions of House dissolution and inclusion of all forces of the people’s movement in the interim government.

“In such a situation, the prime minister’s visit should only be a goodwill one or for his health-check-up. Although the Indian authorities may take up many issues unofficially, no discussion should lead to any an official decision,” Sharma said.

Stating that the Maoists and the PM want elections to a Constituent Assembly very soon, he said: “Perhaps the prime minister wants to convey this message to the Indian authorities.”

“Let the PM’s visit be fruitful,” he said, adding that Koirala should not do anything against the national interests.

“The time is not fit for discussions on economic packages as a national consensus is a must before dealing with such things,” Sharma said.

“The CPN-Maoist is playing the role of the opposition and the party will cooperate with the government,” he added. According to him, the rebels have come to the talks table with utmost sincerity.

“If there are confusions, let us clarify, but none should doubt our motives,” he said, adding: “The issue of decommisioning our weapons is being brought up, but arms is not a big issue as they do not bring about a revolution.”

“It is ideology which brings about a change. In fact weapons of our army and the Nepalese Army are not needed as our strength together cannot protect the nation from external forces like China or India.”

Speaking at the programme, former foreign ministers also suggested the prime minister not sign any deal of national importance in New Delhi.

“Preliminary national agenda should not be taken outside until a national consensus is reached at home,” said Bhekh Bahadur Thapa.While Prakash Saran Mahat said the visit was not “entirely a goodwill visit” as it may seek Indian support in many issues, including the peace process, reconciliation and reconstruction, Sailendra Kumar Upadhaya and Arjun Narsing KC of the Nepali Congress suggested Koirala not sign any bilateral agreement at present.