Kathmandu: Nepal`s embattled government put security forces on alert Thursday and asked the opposition Maoist party to stop giving military training to its cadre nationwide ahead of a looming constitutional crisis.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who has been fighting an insistent demand by the former guerrillas for his resignation to avert a crisis next month, called a meeting of the cabinet as well as the chiefs of the three security agencies to discuss how to combat the Maoists if their anti-government protests turned violent.
"The Maoists are giving military training to their cadre against the peace pact and the task of drafting a new constitution," government spokesman and Information and Communications Minister Shankar Pokhrel said after the meeting.
"We have requested them to stop it. The government has also asked security forces to be ready to combat any law and order violation."
The move came after a series of reports in the local media that the formerly armed party was readying new recruits for a new offensive in anticipation that the government would fail to meet a much-awaited peace deadline next month.
However, Maoist MP Chandra Prakash Gajurel rejected the allegations of military training and warned that it would be disastrous if the government tried to stamp out his party`s peaceful protests by using force.
"The government will meet the fate of deposed king Gyanendra," he said.
The former guerrillas have called public programmes nationwide Thursday to observe Lenin`s 140th anniversary.
They will be followed by a rally in the capital May 1, which the former rebels are hoping would lead to the ouster of the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister has also begun talks with constitutional experts to find a way out of the chaos that threatens Nepal if the government fails to unveil a new constitution by May 28.
Legal experts have warned it would invalidate both the ruling alliance and Parliament.
Though the Prime Minister`s party is seeking to use a constitutional loophole and extend the term of the house and government by six months, the Maoists have said they would oppose it unless Nepal resigned.
When the major parties and the Maoists signed a peace pact in 2006, they had agreed to hold an election and write a new constitution.
However, even two years after the election in 2008, the constitution remains unfinished with only two of the team of 11 MPs having submitted their reports on basis issues.