KATHMANDU, Sept 6: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at a meeting with Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala proposed reinstating the Constituent Assembly (CA) for a brief period for the purpose of promulgating new constitution.
Dahal proposed that agreements be reached in a package on the contents of new constitution and formation of a new government ahead of reviving the CA.
But turning down Dahal´s proposal outright, Koirala insisted that exit of the present coalition and formation of a new government should be done beforehand.
"Our chairman [Dahal] proposed to go for CA reinstatement by signing a deal in the contents of new constitution and on formation of new government but Koirala turned it down insisting that other things can be discussed only after forming a new government," UCPN (Maoist) Spokesperson Agni Prasad Sapkota told Republica.
Also, Koirala´s aide Bipul Pokharel confirmed that Dahal tried to persuade the NC president on his proposal but Koirala didn´t budge.
Later at a central committee meeting of the NC, Koirala expressed doubt that reinstating the CA would help end the ongoing political crisis while other two top leaders -- Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Paudel -- were for keeping the option open for reinstating the CA for a brief period provided that major political forces settle the unresolved disputes in constitution writing beforehand.
Responding to the queries raised by the party members at its central committee meeting, party president Sushil Koirala, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and party´s Vice-President Ram Chandra Paudel explained that the grand-old party wouldn´t be a stumbling block if other parties were sincere to reach a deal in package and implement it honestly.
While Deuba and Paudel were more liberal on the option of reviving the dissolved CA, President Koirala was less open.
He argued that the idea of promulgating new constitution by reinstating the 601-member body may not be as smooth sailing as claimed by some leaders. "It will not be trouble free because some political forces mainly the ruling UCPN (Maoist) party isn´t trustworthy," a leader present at the meeting quoted Koirala as saying. "The Maoists may agree on a deal and backtrack from the same after reinstating the CA."
Koirala argued that years of experience with Maoist leaders showed that the former rebel leaders can betray other parties by breaching agreements. "They don´t hesitate to sign an agreement but they would breach them anytime when they find that it is not in their favor," he explained. "Also, this time the Maoists may get ready to reach a deal but they can breach it and cause trouble to other parties when the CA is reinstated."
However, Deuba was more liberal on the idea of reviving the CA saying that the NC, being a leading democratic party, should give priority to seek solution to the crisis through a legitimate body.
Deuba said that since there was no alternative left before the major political parties other than to reach a deal in a package, it was better to settle the unresolved disputes in constitution writing in consensus and revive the CA for brief period to promulgate the new constitution.
"In the absence of legislature, not only the political and constitutional void will be protracted but also the transitional period will be prolonged," NC leader Bal Krishna Khand quoted Deuba as saying. "So, NC should give priority for the option of seeking solution through a legitimate body that can be only the legislature."
Also, Paudel stood in favor of reinstating the CA provided that the parties reach agreement. In case of going for fresh vote, Paudel was for holding the election for CA and not for parliament. "If we lobby for the election of parliament, the Maoist conspiracy to project NC as a political party reluctant to making new constitution through a CA will get further ground," he said.