Maoist MPs boycott Nepal Parl; rift in the offing?



Kathmandu: A faction of Nepal's Maoist lawmakers on Monday boycotted parliament during the introduction of a key legislation, fueling speculation of a deepening rift in the ruling party here.

Maoist lawmakers close to hardliner leader Mohan Vaidya, who has openly accused the party leadership of moving away from its core ideology, boycotted parliament while ministers were tabling three important bills relating to money laundering in the House.

The bills were related to mutual legal assistance, amendment to laws relating to extradition and eradication of organized crime.

As soon as the bills were tabled, the Maoist lawmakers close to Vaidya boycotted the Parliament.

Maoist lawmaker Ekraj Bhatta said the bills on mutual legal assistance, amendment to laws related to extradition and eradication of organized crime were against national interest.

The Maoist party today underlined the need for unity in the organisation, amid speculation of deepening differences as the former rebels marked 17th anniversary of the "peoples' war" which began in 1996.

Chairman Prachanda "ruled out the possibility of split in the Maoist party".

Terming "the dispute in the party as natural process", he underlined that "it was essential to maintain cohesion within the party."

However, Vaidya expressed dissatisfaction over the state of affairs in the organisation.

He claimed "the party has not been able to achieve its goal despite leading the coalition government".

With lawmakers close to Vaidya boycotting parliament today, the division in the party was clearly visible.

Last week, the hardline leader, who is opposed to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, had sought his resignation as he accused him of failing to pursue the party’s interest in the government.

The Maoist party today underlined the need for unity in the organisation, amid deepening differences as the former rebels marked 17th anniversary of the "peoples' war" which began in 1996.

The Maoists, who waged a decade-long insurgency, joined mainstream politics after a 2006 peace deal with the interim government led by G P Koirala.

The Maoists, who took up arms on February 13, 1996 to topple the monarchy, were instrumental in declaring Nepal a republic after centuries of monarchy in 2008.

The Maoists emerged as the single largest party following the landmark Constituent Assembly elections in 2008 and are leading their second coalition government.

PTI