KATHMANDU, June 16: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other Maoist leaders said on Friday that the new constitution must be written and promulgated through the Constituent Assembly (CA) and ruled out any other alternative.
"The constitution must be written through CA and we mustn´t seek any other alternative. It would be a betrayal to the people if the new constitution is not promulgated through the CA," Dahal said at the mass gathering organized by UCPN (Maoist) at Open Air Theater on Friday.
"Our party will not be ready for any option other than the CA." He said they are ready to hold round-table talks or use other forums for dialogue on major issues but didn´t elaborate whether or not the dissolved CA can be reinstated.
Maoist Chairman Dahal´s announcement comes at a time when leaders from other parties, including the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML have expressed readiness to discuss various options such as CA reinstatement for a brief period, formation of a commission, holding election to parliament, among other options. The opposition parties, however, have set conditions, including the prime minister´s resignation and formation of a national unity government to resume the unfinished task of constitution writing.
Stressing the need for consensus among the major political parties, Dahal urged leaders from other political parties to be ready for talks. He proposed to start the talks from the same point it foundered before CA´s demise on May 27.
Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai also said that there is no any alternative to writing the new constitution through the CA. He argued that the government was compelled to announce fresh polls as it had no other legitimate option. "You can imagine what the situation would have been had the government not announced fresh polls as other parties had refused all other options," said the prime minister.
Similarly, Maoist Vice-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha said, "There must be a new constitution with federalism and the constitution must be written from the people´s representative body,” said Shrestha.
The Maoist leaders claimed that they couldn´t save the CA despite their sincere efforts. They said reluctance of NC and UML leaders to adopt identity-based federalism led to the demise of CA.
"The fight between the two forces -- those who wanted identity-based federalism and those against it - eventually led to the demise of CA," Dahal said.
Prime Minister Bhattarai and Chairman Dahal also announced that they are ready to quit their positions if that would keep the party unity intact.
Coming down heavily on the opposition parties, the prime minister alerted them not to drag the president into controversy by provoking him to take an unconstitutional move.