Pro-democracy leaders, Maoists meet in New Delhi
The Maoists' second-in command B Bhattarai is holding talks with heads of the political alliance on how to restore democracy.india Updated: Mar 14, 2006 13:38 IST
Leaders of Nepal's Maoist rebels and the opposition alliance were meeting in the Indian capital on Tuesday to work out a programme to end King Gyanendra's seizure of power, a report said.
The talks came as the rebels launched a week-long blockade of the kingdom's cities, leaving roads deserted nationwide and businesses closed in the capital.
The Maoists' second-in command Baburam Bhattarai was holding talks with heads of the seven-party political alliance on how to restore democracy.
The Maoists and opposition parties formed a loose alliance last November aimed at restoring democracy after Gyanendra seized power in February 2005.
The leaders representing the mainstream parties included Bamdev Gautam of the Communist Party of Nepal - United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), and Krishna Sitola of Nepali Congress, Nepal's biggest party, the agency said, quoting unidentified sources.
The discussions, expected to continue for the next three or four days, were aimed at sorting out differences between the two sides, particularly with regard to "practical difficulties" in implementing the programme they agreed last November, the sources said.
Media reports have said the alliance was in danger of collapsing amid continuing attacks by Maoists in Nepal.
The two sides were seeking to evolve a "mechanism" so the Maoists could show their faith in multi-party democracy and a desire to shun violence to return to the political mainstream.
The sources said the "people's movement" in Nepal was expected to build up over the next two or three months to increase pressure for the restoration of democracy.
"The aim of the talks is to see how both sides can coordinate their programmes effectively to end King Gyanendra's rule," a Nepalese source told AFP.
Gyanendra said his power seizure was needed to stem the revolt that has claimed over 12,500 lives since 1996. But his move triggered strong international criticism and analysts say he is no closer to achieving his goal of quelling the insurgency.
Neighbouring India, Nepal's biggest arms supplier and trading partner, has been pressing for the restoration of multi-party democracy.