Kathmandu, May 24, 2007

Maoist chairman Prachanda and his deputy, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, today met CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal at the latter’s residence here today.

Talking to this daily after the meeting, Dr Bhattarai said they expected the eight-party meet to take place in two three days. He said that was the only way to end the political deadlock.

The eight parties have not met since April 1 when the interim government with the Maoists was formed. He said they also discussed the Melamchi Drinking Water Project, the future of which is in limbo following the row between the Asian Development Bank and the Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hishila Yami, who wants to review the project in the “changed context.” “We share the view that the mega project must serve the interests of the people,” Bhattarai said.

During the two-hour meeting, the leaders stressed that the date of the constituent assembly elections had to be announced at the earliest and the Prime Minister should take an initiative to call the eight-party meeting to discuss it and other issues.

Talking to mediapersons after the meeting, Nepal said, “The Maoist leadership seems sceptical about the assembly elections.” He said if the eight-party meeting were necessary to decide on the CA polls, the PM should call it immediately, otherwise he should decide it on his own.

Nepal is learnt to have asked the Maoist leadership to ensure the return of the seized property.

Parliament adjourned till tomorrow

Kathmandu, May 24, 2007

The legislature-parliament was adjourned without convening today as well although Speaker Subas Nembang had held consultation with the Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and chief whips of the parliamentary parties for addressing the issues being raised by the Madhesi lawmakers.

He met Prime Minister Koirala for about 20 minutes at Baluwatar this morning. Koirala is said to have told the Speaker that the report of Electoral Constituency Delimitation Commission (ECDC) would be reviewed. “I talked with the Prime Minister this morning on the issues raised by the lawmakers, and I got a positive response,” Nembang said, expressing hope that the next meeting of the House, scheduled for Saturday, would not be disrupted.

Nembang was assured that the problems would be solved in a day or two. Asked if the House was rescheduled after taking into confidence the Madhesi lawmakers, Nembang said, “The talks with them have been positive and I am confident that the House would function on Saturday.”

Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said the government had taken the ECDC’s report seriously. Asked who would take responsibility for the continued disruption of the House, he said resolution of the crisis was more vital.