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Nepal govt under pressure

With eight days remaining for expiry of the deadline to draft Nepal's new constitution, Nepali Congress on Friday stepped up its attack on ruling Maoists and the Jhalanath Khanal government.

world Updated: May 21, 2011 01:13 IST
Utpal Parashar

With eight days remaining for expiry of the deadline to draft Nepal's new constitution, Nepali Congress on Friday stepped up its attack on ruling Maoists and the Jhalanath Khanal government.

In a mass rally held at Kathmandu's Khulla Manch, the party demanded conclusion of the peace process including dismantling of the Maoist military structure before adopting a new statute.

"Maoists should act responsibly and fulfill past promises on peace and constitution within the next seven days," said Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala.

The rally dubbed as the opposition party's 'show of strength' is the culmination of a month-long campaign for peace and constitution with rallies and meetings held across Nepal.

"The government and Maoists should give concrete assurances on peace and constitution by May 24 (four days prior to expiry of the deadline) for any further extension of the constitution drafting tenure," said former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

Despite extending the Constituent Assembly's tenure by a year in May 2010 to complete the peace process and draft the new constitution, Nepal is nowhere near completing both tasks.

Earlier this month, the ruling coalition decided to extend the CA tenure by another year. But Nepali Congress and some Madhesi parties are opposing it till the government gives concrete assurances.

Nepali Congress has decided to oppose the CA tenure extension till its 10-point set of conditions to conclude the peace process and drafting of constitution is accepted.

The party wants Maoists to dismantle its military structure, hand over all its weapons to the government and agree on integration of 4000 of its former combatants into security forces.

Concrete assurances on fundamental issues in the new constitution like form of government, electoral system and restructuring of states are other conditions put forth by Nepali Congress.