Nepali Congress seeks resignation of PM

Nepal`s opposition held rally to step up pressure on the Communist-led govt.

Updated: May 21, 2011, 00:25 AM IST

Kathmandu: Nepal`s main opposition Nepali
Congress on Friday held a massive rally in the heart of the
capital to step up pressure on the Communist-led government to
quit for the failure to promulgate a new constitution.

This government has no right to continue as it has
failed to conclude the peace process and make any progress in
drafting the constitution, Nepali Congress leaders underlined
in their speeches at the rally, a week ahead of the expiry of
the term of the Constituent Assembly.

The 601-member Assembly, which acts as the interim
parliament, has failed to promulgate the new constitution by
the May 28 deadline.

The Nepali Congress, the second largest party with 114
members in the House, demanded the resignation of Prime
Minister Jhala Nath Khanal, who is leading the communist
coalition, arguing that the term of the House could not be
extended without concrete progress in the 2006 peace process.

Top leaders, including Nepali Congress president
Sushil Koirala, addressed the gathering of over 60,000 people.

If the Maoists become honest and sincere, only then
can the peace process conclude and the constitution be
promulgated, Koirala said.

He underlined the need to forge cooperation and
collaboration among political parties to take the peace
process forward.

Ram Chandra Poudyal, the party Vice president, said
Nepali Congress can’t accept undemocratic constitution and
such a document cannot be drafted without concluding the peace

Nepal cannot accept any type of autocratic regime, he
pointed out.

The government has registered a constitution amendment
bill in parliament proposing a one-year extension for the
Assembly, whose term was extended last year in a bid to
prevent a constitutional crisis.

However, the government needs the support of the
opposition parties for extending the term of the House as it
does not have the required two-thirds majority for the
endorsement of the bill.

Political parties in the country are deadlocked over
some of the key issues of the peace process, including
the fate of the former Maoist combatants.

Most of the mainstream political parties have asked
the Maoists to rehabilitate their former PLA combatants,
return the seized property and dismantle their paramilitary
youth wing, Young Communist League, so that a consensus can be
built on drafting a constitution and concluding the peace

Nepali Congress general secretary Prakash Man Singh
asked the Maoists to vacate the cantonments and lay down arms
to conclude the peace process.

Krishna Sitaula, the member of the powerful Central
Committee, reminded the former rebels that the Nepali Congress
had brought the Maoists to the path of democratic politics and
they should detach themselves from the armed cadres and free
the country from terror and violence.

Bimalendra Nidhi, another top leader, blamed the
Maoists for the failure to draft the constitution as they
wanted to impose one party rule in the country.

The leaders of Nepali Congress underlined the need for
a democratic constitution that guarantees human rights, press
freedom, right to private property, independent judiciary and
decentralization of power.

They stressed that a 10-point demand set by Nepali
Congress must be fulfilled before the government extends the
term of the Assembly.

They asked the Maoists to lay down their arms, agree a
modality to manage their combatants, end the politics of
threat and violence and return the property seized by their
cadres during the decade-long insurgency that ended in 2006.

The victims of conflict should get justice and
conducive atmosphere should be created for displaced persons
to return to their homes, the demanded.

They asked the Maoists to abandon the politics of
violence, and honour their past agreements.

The political standoff and the resultant instability
in the country has been hugely damaging for Nepal, which is
still reeling from its decade of civil war.