Opposition Maoists in Nepal have decided to go ahead with their nationwide demonstrations on May 1 after talks between the three major parties failed to arrive at any consensus.
Hopes of the Maoists calling off their demonstration and indefinite strike from May 2 were raised after leaders of all three major parties had agreed on Wednesday to resolve all issues by Friday.
“We had a round of talks in the afternoon and another round will take place in the evening, but no result has been arrived at,” informed UCPN (Maoist) vice chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.
Nearly 500,000 Maoist cadres would join Saturday’s demonstration aimed at removing the government. They will converge at Ratnapark where UCPN (M) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ will address them.
Bhattarai assured that despite “false propaganda”, the demonstration would be peaceful. But he threatened the government not to violate provisions of the peace accord and use Nepal Army to curb the demonstration.
“If the government resigns and our demand for creation of a national unity government is met, we might call off the indefinite strike. But if that doesn’t happen we will go ahead with our plan,” he said.
Accusing the government of being the biggest stumbling block in the peace and constitution drafting processes, Bhattarai said that although they want the Prime Minister to resign—it is not their main demand.
Besides removal of the coalition government, Maoists are seeking a package deal that includes constitution of a national unity government headed by them and drafting of the new constitution within the May 28 deadline.
On its part, the government is bracing itself to ensure that the demonstration and the subsequent strike doesn’t turn violent and has put police and para-military forces on high alert.
Nepal Prime Minister Madhav Kumar held an emergency cabinet meeting immediately after his return from Thimphu and later attended a meeting of the National Security Council.
Although he has expressed his desire to quit in favour of a consensus candidate, members of the ruling coalition have asked him to remain in office. A meeting of the 22 parties of the coalition has been called on Saturday.
Amidst the ongoing developments, Chief of the UN Mission in Nepal Karin Landgren and the new US Ambassador to Nepal Scott DeLisi asked all parties to exercise restraint and arrive at a peaceful consensus soon.
The security situation in Kathmandu continued to remain grim with traders and business establishments downing shutters on Friday after they were forced to cough up huge donations by UCPN (M) workers.