Nepal’s ruling coalition has conveyed to the Indian leadership that the Maoist intransigence on a host of issues, notably the integration of their armed cadres in the national army, has pushed the Himalayan nation tantalizingly close to a major constitutional and political crisis.
The main stumbling block in the way of the 12-point peace process sealed in New Delhi in 2006 is the Maoist demand for induction of 18,900 combatants at levels up to starred generals in the 95,000-strong national army, Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar told the Hindustan Times.
He said the Maoists also want to return at the head of the government led by Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) leader Madhav Nepal since May 2009.
As desired by the 22-parties supporting the ten-party coalition, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is reluctant to work under CPN (UML) Premier to give the country a new Constitution. They want primacy in the power setup despite deep fissures within over the leadership issue.
Gachhadar refused to comment on the internal CPN (M) power tussle between former Premier Prachanda and his deputy Baburam Bhattarai. But he said the number of armed cadres the Maoists wanted inducted in the Army didn’t match up with either their population in the UN-monitored camps or the count of arms they have surrendered.
“There are only 13000 combatants in camps but the Maoists are drawing monthly stipend for 18,900,” he charged, suggesting collusion between the guerillas and some officials of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).
“Our position is that one person can be integrated in the army against each arm surrendered by combatants,” the Deputy PM said. By that yardstick, there number cannot exceed 3400.
Gachhadar’s MPRF (Democratic) is a breakaway faction of the Madheshee People’s Rights Forum he split last year to drive Maoists out of power.
“Had I not done so, the Maoists would have changed the Army chief, inducted their cadres in the Army and bulldozed the Assembly into proclaiming a Constitution of their choice and convenience,” he claimed.
The MPRF (D) leader maintained Nepal is on the crossroads with the CPN (M) — that has 38 per cent seats in the Assembly — showing no signs of meeting the May 28 deadline for the new Constitution.
“We cannot muster two-thirds majority without their support. The consequences of Maoists persisting with their unreasonable demands will impact India as much. Nepal then will be a Maoist Zone, not a Democracy Zone,” he remarked.
Gachhadar returned to Kathmandu on Sunday after the 5-day visit he undertook on the invitation of New Delhi.
He held talks here with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna, National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, Congress leader Digvijay Singh and Opposition leaders L K Advani, Sharad Yadav, Sitaram Yechury and Mulayam Singh Yadav.