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Nepal’s Maoist Govt under pressure

Nepal’s Maoist-led government, which aspires to transform the impoverished Himalayan nation into a developed country, is under tremendous political pressure.

world Updated: Nov 08, 2008 18:52 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times

Nepal’s Maoist-led government, which aspires to transform the impoverished Himalayan nation into a developed country, is under tremendous political pressure.

Members of opposition parties Nepali Congress and Terai-Madhes Loktantrik Party have vowed to obstruct the session of the Constituent Assembly.

Hridayesh Tripathy, general secretary of Terai-Madhes Loktantrik Party has demanded that the government should immediately dissolve the special committee constituted for integration of the Maoist soldiers with the Nepal Army.

The Nepali Congress, which is the largest opposition party in the Constituent Assembly, has been campaigning against the integration of the Maoist combatants in the national army. It also did not join the special committee.

Tripathy, a former industries minister of Nepal, has demanded that the special committee, which is being headed by Deputy Prime Minister Bamdev Gautam, be reconstituted as per the interim constitution.

It was a shot in the arm for the opposition parties when Nepal’s Vice-President Padmananda Jha on Monday had criticized the government claiming that the constitution of the special committee was “totally un-constitutional” and should be dissolved immediately.

However, the government is desperate to convince the other political parties that the charter of the special committee has been totally democratic and constitutional.

Deputy PM Bamdev Gautam on Saturday claimed that the special committee will not be dissolved as he pooh-poohed Vice-President Jha’s statement and said such views were unwarranted and un-constitutional.

Gautam said the special committee has not been able to start its work because efforts are still underway to forge political consensus on the army integration issue.

As Gautam’s statement against the Vice-President is a clear case of breach of protocol, Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav on Saturday also strongly criticized the Vice-President.

In addition to opposing the integration process, the Nepali Congress has fired a fresh salvo at the government and has demanded for Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa’s immediate resignation.

Senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said the party will obstruct sessions of the Constituent Assembly if the government does not clarify about reports about Defence Minister’s meeting with Maoist commander Kali Bahadur Kham Magar.

Magar, who is accused of the murder of a Kathmandu-based businessman, Ram Hari Shrestha, has been absconding. The Nepali Congress leaders also demanded immediate return of the properties seized by Maoists.

Meanwhile, the Maoist leadership is also reportedly caught in a series of ideological differences. Senior Maoist leader Mohan Vaidya has been demanding transformation of Nepal as a “people’s republic”.

A section of the Maoist leaders have also demanded that Prime Minister Prachanda should also vacate the post of party’s chairmanship.

First Published: Nov 08, 2008 16:01 IST