At the end of a three-day general strike and the third round of agitation against President Ram Baran Yadav’s decision to reinstate the then Army Chief Rookmangud Katawal in May, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said on Tuesday that he now wanted to talk to India, the country his party says runs the ‘puppet government’ of Nepal.
“I have no energy to hold talks with the parties here,” he said referring to the talks with Nepali Congress and CPN-UML that were inconclusive. “We will talk to India now as the issue of civilian supremacy has reached Delhi.” He was speaking to a gathering outside the Constituent Assembly hall in Baneswor.
On the reported remarks of Indian Army Chief against integration of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army with the Royal Nepal Army, he said it was a serious matter. “How did the Indian Army Chief get the authority to speak on it?” he said. He was angry that the CPN-UML-led government did not speak up against the remarks.
Mr. Dahal claimed that the talks in Kathmandu to end the political stalemate in the country would never arrive at a consensus as New Delhi’s suggestions would have to be sought finally.
Maoist Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai said, “it’s now time for us to hold talks not with the puppet, but with those who run the puppet.” Mr. Dahal and Mr. Bhattarai were also critical of the “unfair agreements” Nepal had with India.
Mr. Dahal said India should remove its army from Kalapani and the border problems in Susta should be resolved. These, he said, were some of the issues to be discussed with India.
The ties between Nepali Maoists and India have been cold ever since India supported the reinstatement of General Katawal in May.
Government spokesperson Shankar Pokharel said Nepal’s problems should be solved within the country and not outside it. Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitauala, on the other hand, termed Mr. Prachanda’s remarks “unfortunate.”
The Maoists are planning a fourth phase of agitation to restore civilian supremacy. Mr. Dahal warned of an indefinite general strike if the President’s “extra constitutional” move was not corrected.