Wednesday, June 10, 2009

UML, Maoists close to agreement on ending ongoing political impasse’

Leader of the new coalition CPN (UML) and the agitating main opposition party the Unified CPN (Maoist) have agreed to give an outlet to the ongoing political impasse’ by adopting a ‘middle path’ acceptable to all major political forces.

The UML and Maoist top brass held a three hour long discussion at Godavari Village Resort, Tuesday, to discuss solutions to the ongoing stalemate.

The Maoists, who have been obstructing the House and launching agitation on the streets demanding the ‘correction’ of the ‘unconstitutional move’ taken by President Ram Baran Yadav on the army chief's issue, have agreed to allow normal proceedings of the House if Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal addresses the concerns raised by the Maoists before the legislature parliament.

At the meeting, the Maoists asked UML not to take action against second-in-command of Nepali Army Kul Bahadur Khadka, but appoint him in a respectable position after his term ends on June 20; send incumbent chief of Army Staff Rookangud Katawal on leave and appoint Lt General Chhatra Mansingh Gurung as the acting army chief from the same date.

PM Nepal and his party leaders agreed not to take action against Khadka and appoint him in a respectable position, but said they need to consult Nepali Congress about sending Katawal on leave. PM Nepal will discuss with NC and other parties on the demands raised by Maoists Wednesday. If NC agrees to the proposal, PM Nepal is expected to address the House on Thursday.

The Maoists also asked the PM to term the President’s move as ‘unconstitutional’ in his address to the parliament. The PM is learnt to have told Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, he (PM Nepal) would make an address acceptable to the Maoists.

In a bid to send a positive message to the Maoists, PM Nepal has already instructed the army headquarters not to initiate process to take action against Khadka. Defense minister Bidhya Devi Bhandari called CoAS Katawal to her office Tuesday afternoon and instructed him not to set up the court of inquiry against Khadka as planned by the army headquarter.

A broadsheet Rajdhani daily reported the two parties had already agreed on the terms but had decided not to announce it before June 20. UML would try to gain consensus of all parties to enforce the decisions by the mentioned date, and if it fails to do so, UML and Maoists would take the decision on their own.

The two leftist parties have agreed to approve the President’s move through a cabinet decision, but explain it as ‘a decision taken at special circumstances’ to prevent such trend from being a precedent for future Presidents through the PM’s address, the daily reported.

UML and the Maoists also discussed the ongoing conflict between the cadres of their sister organisations in various places across the country and stressed on the need to end it immediately.

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