Nepal’s fragile polity plunged into yet another major crisis on Tuesday as four Maoists ministers resigned from the interim Girija Prasad Koirala government. The four Maoist ministers—Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Dev Gurung, Hisila Yami and Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma—tendered their resignations as Koirala failed to meet their 22-point demands.
The major Maoists demands included immediately declaring Nepal a “republic” and a proportional representation-based election system. After waging ‘Janayuddha (Peoples’ War)’ for 11 years, the Maoists had joined the government on April 1.
The Maoist ministers submitted their resignation to Koirala as soon as the meeting of top leaders of four major ruling allies ended in deadlock. Koirala’s “closed-door meeting” with Maoist Chairman Prachanda on Tuesday morning also failed to stop the ministers from resigning.
Leaders of Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Nepali Congress (Democratic) failed to convince the former rebels not to quit the government.
The Maoist ministers have cited that the failure to lead the government according to the eight-party common minimum programme (CMP) and lack of a credible environment for Constituent Assembly polls on November 22 as the reason for quitting the government.
Interestingly, all the Maoist ministers on Tuesday released the official vehicles provided to them by the government and headed towards the open-air theatre to address the a public meeting in private vehicles.
The Maoist leaders formally announced their decision to launch a country-wide agitation to declare Nepal as a republic. More than one lakh Maoist supporters assembled at Tudikhel ground in downtown Kathmandu and vowed to rewrite Nepal’s political hope.
Normal life in downtown Kathmandu came to a grinding halt as Maoist supporters marched through the streets shouting slogan against monarchy and demanding a republican government. Senior political leaders are desperately trying to
stop the Maoists from wriggling out of the interim government.
Senior Nepali Congress (Democratic) leader Minendra Rizal said efforts were still on to retain them in the government. “The Prime Minister hasn’t accepted the resignations letters as yet,” he said.
However, Koirala was not available for comments as he was busy attending a series of meetings with senior leaders of his ruling coalition to avert any major political crisis in Nepal.