Fears of violence as Nepalese leaders fail to end pol deadlock
Last Updated: Friday, April 30, 2010, 20:45
Kathmandu: A key meeting between the leaders of Nepal's ruling coalition and the Maoists failed to break the political deadlock on Friday, heightening fears of clashes between the security forces and the former rebels determined to force the embattled prime minister to quit.

Baburam Bhattarai, the vice-chairman of the main Opposition United CPN-Maoist, announced that his party will gather five lakh supporters in the capital tomorrow to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

"The Prime Minister must resign by May 1 to pave the way for forming a Maoists-led national coalition government, or we will launch indefinite general strike from May 2," he warned.

"Although the talks today failed to reach consensus, we are still hopeful of resolving the issue through dialogue," he told a press conference on the eve of the rally.

The political leaders are struggling to meet a May 28 deadline to finish the drafting of a new constitution as stipulated by the peace process that brought the civil war to an end in 2006.

Disagreements persist on such fundamental issues as the structure of the national government and the creation of federal states.

The Maoists, who have around 40 percent of the seats in parliament, want the government disbanded, followed by the formation of a new coalition government led by them.

Even as Bhattarai said that the May Day rally and the indefinite strike from May 2 will be peacefully, he warned the government not to use force to provoke their movement.

He said protection of national independence and abrogation of the 1950 Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty will be the major slogans of the party, besides formation of a national coalition government.

The embattled Prime Minister has refused to quit and called a meeting of the ruling coalition to discuss the threat posed by the Maoists' to the stability of the government.

The decision to call the 22-party meeting was taken at an emergency cabinet meeting held immediately after Nepal arrived from Bhutan today.

Nepal's National Security Council today decided to put the security agencies on high alert amid fears of violence during the Maoist agitation.

The Council has decided to hand over the responsibility of security of sensitive and important facilities, including airports and power houses to the Nepal Army, the media reported.


First Published: Friday, April 30, 2010, 20:45

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