THT 10 YEARS AGO: NC, UML bigwigs fail to make it to CA

Kathmandu, May 2, 2008

The final lists of proportional representation nominees to the Constituent Assembly submitted to the Election Commission by the major parties contained a few surprises and some disappointments.

CPN-UML rested all its standing committee members, including acting general secretary Amrit Kumar Bohara, Sahana Pradhan, Modnath Prashrit and Mukunda Neupane. “We decided to revamp the party leadership following the poll defeat,” said UML central committee member Shankhar Pokharel.

UML central committee member Pokharel himself is one of the 70 to make it to the Constituent Assembly, though. The Nepali Congress leaders submitted the final list of 73 candidates to the Election Commission, largely ignoring the Central Working Committee.

Though the Central Working Committee members, who were to endorse the PR list, kept waiting since 8 a.m. under a tent on the premises of the Prime Minister’s official residence, members of the parliamentary board came up with the list at around 4 p.m. A week ago, the Election Commission had directed the parties to submit their final lists of PR candidates by 5 p.m. today.

“This is a glaring example of lack of intra-party democracy in our party. The big, old guys bickered over the names while we kept waiting. If they were to take the final decision on the closed-list, then why didn’t they say so,” a member of the central working committee wondered.

First-ever Prachanda-Powell powwow

Kathmandu, May 2, 2008

In an apparent shift of USA’s approach to Maoists, American ambassador to Nepal Nancy Powell met Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda yesterday, the US embassy said in a press release today.

The meeting dwelt on the outcome of Constituent Assembly polls, it said. It was the first official meeting of a senior American official with a group that Washington still labels as terrorists, the release said.

During the meeting, Powell and Prachanda discussed the Maoists’ plans for the Constituent Assembly and the future of US-Nepal relations. “This was their first meeting. The meeting was held in advance of Powell’s return to the United States for consultations on US-Nepal relations,” the statement said.

During the meeting, Powell provided an overview of US assistance package, designed to help create a more prosperous, democratic and stable Nepal. “She sought assurances that the new government would respect current donor agreements and ensure the safety of those implementing them,” the statement said adding that she encouraged Dahal to ensure that all Maoist organisations illustrate their commitment to the ongoing political process through their words and action.