NATIONAL

Nepal Communist leader sees bid to marginalise democracy

Kolkata Oct. 22 . "The Palace and the Nepal Maoists are both, though in different ways, out to marginalise the democratic process in Nepal," the general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Madhav Kumar Nepal, has said.

In an interview to The Hindu, he said: "The King has subverted democracy by setting up a despotic puppet Government while the Maoists continue to carry out their insurgent activities."

The Maoists might have extended their area of operation in the country but they were not gaining popular support. "They continue to thrive on the existing contradictions between the Palace, the puppet Government and the democratic forces," he said.

Mr. M.K. Nepal was the Deputy Prime Minister in 1994- 95 and the leader of the second largest party [after the Nepali Congress] at the time of dissolution of Parliament more than a year ago.

Admitting that there "is much to be done" to restore the faith of the people in the "multi-party, democratic dispensation," Mr. Nepal, a chief architect of the alliance, said:

"The five-party alliance set up in May with the CPN (UML), a key constituent, aims to bring back democracy in the country by fighting the retrograde and autocratic policies being dictated by the Palace.

"We are pledged to an 18-point programme aimed at establishing a national consensus against an autocratic rule which has only whetted the appetite of the Maoists for violence. We continue to seek the support of Indian political parties in our struggle for the restoration of democracy in Nepal."

He alleged that those in power had undone the work done by the previous multi-party Government to restore a semblance of peace. The seven-month cease-fire between the Maoists and the Government collapsed in August. And, for peace efforts to succeed it was imperative for a democratic environment, which can only be ensured with the return of the multi-party government rule, he added.

During his stay here, he discussed the situation in Nepal with the West Bengal Chief Minister, Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, and the State CPI (M) general secretary, Anil Biswas.

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