Koirala challenges Maoists to tear up past accords KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Even as President Ram Baran Yadav did not issue any strict deadline in his meeting with the top leaders of major political parties on January 15, the head of the state had earnestly urged the parties to forge consensus at the earliest, possibly within a week.
But the leaders of major parties seem to have taken the move by President Yadav to abstain from issuing any more deadlines as ´closing the door to further negotiations´.
The major parties neither have engaged in any serious talks since their meeting with the president nor are they planning anytime soon to resolve the impasse. Instead, the parties have now become sharply polarized into two groups with the opposition alliance led by Nepali Congress and CPN-UML parties already taking to the streets to dislodge the Baburam Bhattarai-led government since January 19.
"The UCPN (Maoist) is not willing to resolve the impasse. We don´t think that the impasse could be resolved through negotiations unless the Maoists demonstrate willingness for solution," said Nepali Congress (NC) leader Dr Minendra Rijal. "This is the reason why have taken to the streets."
Dr Rijal, who is one of the key interlocutors of the NC in the inter-party talks, alleged that the ruling Maoists neither want to hold elections, nor do they want to quit power to form a national consensus government for holding polls ´soon´. "We don´t see any meaning in holding talks under these circumstances," Dr Rijal further said.
The much-touted consensus among parties has become further elusive after the ruling alliance also decided to stage ´awareness rally´ in Kathmandu on January 30. And the recent threats by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Dahal to tear up all the past agreements if his party was not allowed to hold polls by May has further vitiated an environment of consensus.
"If we are not allowed to hold elections [by May-end] all the agreements reached in the past will be torn up, the Nepali people will tear them up," Dahal warned on Saturday while addressing the fifth Kaski district convention of the UCPN (Maoist) in Pokhara.
The main opposition party, NC, which has already decided to intensify protest against the Maoist-led government, has taken the remarks of Dahal as a ´veiled threats´.
"Dahal has made irresponsible statement. I guess, tearing up the past agreements means returning to the jungle. I´ve nothing to say if he has the guts to do that," Koirala told journalist at Bharatpur airport, Chitwan on Monday afternoon.
While venting his ire against the Maoists for ´breaching past agreements´, Koirala said Dahal´s statement reflected threats and made it clear that Nepali Congress would never cower before such threats. "Consensus government is a must for fresh election. And the Maoist party has become stumbling block for the formation of a national consensus government. The Maoist party will be solely responsible if elections are not held," Koirala said.
As opposition alliance which started a 20-day anti-government protest starting Saturday is determined to oust Baburam Bhattarai from power, consensus among parties appears nowhere in sight, at least for now. "We will continue our protests. Bhattarai will eventually quit one day," Koirala further said.