NC, UML say PM´s exist from Baluwatar a bottomline for consensus
KATHMANDU, June 16 : Political parties that were sharply divided after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) have started formal talks to forge consensus on future course of national politics.
On Saturday, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held separate meetings with Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala and CPN-UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal in his bid to improve the souring relations with the main opposition parties.
However, initial indications were that both NC and UML were sticking to their demands for Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai´s resignation before they can hold further negotiations to resolve difference.
During his talks with Koirala, Dahal argued there was no alternative to consensus among the political parties to bail the country out of the current constitutional and political crisis. "We discussed ways to forge consensus on all issues. There is no alternative to consensus both for the formation of national consensus government and constitution drafting proces”," Dahal told the media after the meeting.
Koirala however, told Dahal that consensus among political parties was not possible until Bhattarai quit office. He also said the current crisis was the direct result of the Maoist´s failure to honor the five-point agreement reached among the major parties on May 15.
Koirala maintained the prime minister´s exit from Baluwatar could create an environment of trust among parties. "Parties can then sit together for discussions on how to move ahead to address constitutional crises facing the country," a source close to Koirala quoted him as saying.
Shortly after holding talks with Koirala, Maoist Chairman Dahal went to the residence of UML senior leader Nepal at Koteshwor.
During the one-hour long meeting, Dahal expressed concerns that fresh polarization seen among the parties could lead to confrontation. Dahal also asked Nepal to take proactive initiatives to avoid possible confrontation among the political forces, according to a member of UML´s Central Publicity Department, Bishnu Rijal.
In response, Nepal told Dahal that Maoist needed to take measures to remove the mistrusts among major political parties after the dissolution of the CA. "The government has to vacate Baluwatar and pave the way for the consensus government," Rijal quoted Nepal.
Nepal proposed that the parties needed to find common ground to settle unresolved issues of new constitution once an environment of trust is built. "The parties can then decide on whether to revive the CA, form commission or go to fresh CA poll or explore other possible option,” Nepal said.
Dahal´s meeting with the two senior opposition leaders came after 27 parties, including the NC and UML, announced a series of protests against the current Maoist-led government. They have concluded that the ´unilateral´ dissolution of the CA and subsequent declaration of a fresh CA poll by Bhattarai-led government was a part of the Maoists´ long-held strategy to capture ´state powers´.
Oppn parties announce nationwide protests
KATHMANDU, June 16 : Various opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, have announced a series of protest programs against the Baburam Bhattarai-led caretaker government.
A joint meeting of the opposition parties held at the UML headquarters in Balkhu took a decision to stage Kathmandu-centric protests on Sunday and Monday, protesting the caretaker prime minister´s scheduled visit to Brazil to attend the Rio+20 Conference. "Nationwide protests against the government will be held from June 18 to July 9," said NC leader Minendra Rijal.
Opposition parties are scheduled to greet Prime Minister Bhattarai with black flags at the Tribhuvan International Airport when he leaves for Brazil on Monday.
The parties have demanded that the prime minister step down to pave the way for the formation of a consensus government. They are scheduled to hold corner meetings, torch rallies and other forms of protest activities against the government as a part of the 20-day long nationwide protest beginning from Monday.
The joint meeting has also formed a three-member protest mobilization coordination committee comprising NC General Secretary Prakash Man Singh, UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel and Rastriya Prajatantra Party Joint Secretary Dipak Bohora.