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.

PTI



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

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