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Post strike, talks intensify to solve Nepal crisis

After their six-day strike failed to oust the government, opposition Maoists in Nepal are now seeking change through a series of informal meetings.

world Updated: May 12, 2010 17:33 IST
Utpal Parashar

After their six-day strike failed to oust the government, opposition Maoists in Nepal are now seeking change through a series of informal meetings.

Ruling and opposition parties and Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal are also taking the same route to break the political deadlock.

The meetings seem to be heading the right direction as UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said on Wednesday that a breakthrough is likely within the next two days.

The former Prime Minister who is on a comeback attempt disclosed this to Constituent Assembly Chairman Subhash Nemwang when the latter went to Prachanda’s residence to discuss the current political situation.

Nepal is on the verge of a crisis as it has only 16 days left to promulgate a new constitution. The tenure of the Constituent Assembly also expires on the same deadline—May 28.

On Monday, leaders of 10 opposition parties including Maoists urged PM Nepal to resign. Despite not having adequate numbers, they claimed that the government had lost its majority.

Senior leaders of ruling Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) continued their informal meetings with Maoist leadership on Wednesday as well.

Since Maoists have refused to engage in tri-partite talks with Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) till the PM resigns, formal talks between Nepal’s three major parties have remained in limbo.

Seemingly unperturbed by attempts to dislodge him, the Prime Minister kept busy on Tuesday and Wednesday in meetings with political parties on extending the Constituent Assembly’s term.

Reacting to the Maoist demand, CPN (UML) has put forth six conditions including rehabilitation of former Maoists rebels, restructuring of the semi-militant Youth Communist League and return of property seized by Maoists.

“Resignation of the PM alone will not solve the problem. The Maoists should meet these conditions for formation of a national unity government,” said CPN (UML) leader Yuba Raj Gyawali.

Formal talks for consensus have not taken place since Friday as Maoists are sticking to their demand of Prime Minister Nepal’s resignation and have twice rejected his invitation for dialogue.

“These senile politicians are past their shelf life. They are only interested in holding meetings and not finding a solution to the crisis,” commented Sunil Babu Pant, a CPN (United) lawmaker.