Life across Nepal began limping back to normal on Saturday, a day after opposition Maoists called off their indefinite strike that had crippled the Himalayan nation for six days.
Shops and business establishments opened shutters and vehicles plied on roads. However as Saturday is weekly holiday in Nepal, banks, schools and government offices remained closed.
Citing sufferings faced by public and a government conspiracy to divide people as reasons, UCPN (Maoist) had withdrawn the strike aimed at removing the government and setting up of a national government.
The Maoists have however vowed to continue their agitation in a different manner. On Saturday, the party took out rallies across Kathmandu and thousands converged for a mass gathering at Tundikhel.
“The six day strike was just a rehearsal. If our demands are not met within May 28, we will resort to another strike,” said UCPN (M) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ in an emotionally charged address.
Stressing that the strike was called off only due to sufferings faced by the people and not under any pressure he stated that the party will decide on the course for the next phase of agitation on Monday.
“We have had enough talks in the past few days and will not take part in any talks now. The ball is in the government’s court now,” said Prachanda.
Maoists are planning to picket outside Singha Darbar—the seat of Nepal government—and administrative offices in districts on Sunday. Prachanda stated that the agitation would continue to be peaceful.
Welcoming the Maoist decision to call off the strike, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal hoped it would lead to consensus on completing the peace and constitution drafting processes soon.
“I urge the Maoists to move towards seeking solutions to the problems of inter-party differences by complying with constitutional norms and basic democratic values,” he said in a statement.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala held an interaction with ambassadors of several Asian nations at her residence on Saturday and apprised them of the present political situation in Nepal.
She stated that despite the attempts by Maoists, the present coalition government won’t collapse till the integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist rebels gets completed.