Organising a mass meeting on the occasion of founder leader Ganesh Man Singh’s 97th birth anniversary, Nepali Congress (NC) reiterated its call for Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s resignation as a precondition for fresh elections.
In much of his speech, NC president Sushil Koirala projected the Maoists as the ‘biggest obstacle to peace, stability and democracy’. Asserting they would meet the same fate as the autocratic panchayat system and monarchy, Mr. Koirala said, “We want to explain to the Maoists that don’t play with democracy. Don’t play with human rights, press freedom, rule of law, people’s rights.”
He announced a multi-pronged battle against the government. “The first battle is constitutional. The Maoists declared elections on May 27 unilaterally, violating rules and process. This has created a vacuum.”
The opposition parties have urged President Ram Baran Yadav not to endorse a full budget by the government, promulgate any ordinances, or take steps, which would enable constitutional changes to allow elections. Sections of NC have also urged the head of the state to dismiss Mr. Bhattarai.
Mr. Koirala also signalled they would intensify a street movement. “18 to 20 parties, including NC and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), will together launch an andolan from tomorrow against the government…The way out is elections now, but the government must resign to make way for fresh polls.” He however added that they would continue ‘negotiations and talks’ with the ruling parties in order to find a solution.
Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba warned that the Maoists were ‘using all means’ to impose a ‘one-party dictatorship’. General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula alleged that the government had engaged in ‘massive corruption’. “They have just recently through a cabinet decision handed over NRS 200,000 to each disqualified combatants, amounting to 60 crore. There is gross economic misappropriation, and Madhesi parties are being the Maoist tail by supporting such decisions.”
Since the end of the CA in May without delivering a constitution, Nepal has been locked in a political stalemate. Ruling Maoists and Madhesi parties have insisted on a package deal, which includes constitutional issues, election modalities, and national unity government. The opposition, however, has demanded the PM’s resignation before discussions on other issues.