Nepal Today

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SUNSHINE IN CAPITAL FOR FIRST TIME IN THREE DAYS Kathmandu, 19 June: The residents of the capital Wednesday finally got some relief from continuous rainfall of the last for three days. Shortly after eight in the morning, the continuous rain stopped. The sun broke through the clouds. nnnn INTERVIEW At a time when there is rising concern in India about the constitution-making process in Nepal and the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections, senior leader of CPN-UML, K P Sharma Oli, was in New Delhi for a brief private visit. Oli spoke to Akanshya Shah of Republica late on Monday after a function organised by the Nepal-India Friends Club at the Nepalese embassy here. He returned to Kathmandu on Tuesday morning. Excerpts of the conversation: There is speculation that the election might not be held, given the many dissenting voices. Will the election be held as planned? The election has been announced for November 19 and will be held. The dissenting voices must be given serious consideration and we must make them understand the usefulness of the democratic exercise. But if their intention is to foil the democratic process then they will lose significance in Nepali politics. You said more than once in New Delhi that the Maoist party is not a political party. Why? The Maoists are an ultra-left force and not a democratic force in the modern sense. In that sense only the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are democratic parties in Nepal, not the Maoists.They are still an unstable force.We are trying to change an extremist force into one that is truely democratic. But the Seven-Party Alliance signed the 12-Point Agreement with the Maoists and their party emerged as the largest after the CA polls. Did the Maoists not embrace a multiparty system then? I am one of those who drafted the 12-Point Agreement in the presidential suite of the Le Meridian hotel and I am here now right in front of you. It was not crafted by the Maoists; rather it was part of our peaceful struggle. The Maoists were and are still following the path of violence. It was the SPA which decided to work together with them on an understanding rather than finish them off. The Maoists have still not renounced violence nor adopted peaceful politics. How will the UML perform in the CA poll? We will emerge as the largest party and, along with the Nepali Congress, secure a two-thirds majority. This has to happen. Otherwise the constitution will not be written. India has been inviting senior leaders from Nepal lately. Prachanda came in May and NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba has just concluded a six-day visit. Have you been invited as well? No. Has your party chairman, Jhalanath Khanal, received such an invitation? No, not to my knowledge. What do you think about these visits? Is India trying to check the caliber of our leaders? I have not spoken to either Prachanda or Deuba about their visits. But I would think these visits are to discuss the political situation in Nepal. Did you meet any Indian leaders in New Delhi this time? Meeting some friends is a routine affair and nothing new for us. Prachanda spoke about trilateral cooperation between India, Nepal and China. Do you think it will materialise? Nepal has to move ahead taking both its neighbours - India and China -- into confidence. We must all move ahead together. But Prachanda has neither the mandate nor the position to represent Nepal and all the political parties. He spoke in China and in India as if he was speaking for all of us. We will not give any recognition to this self-styled representation at this point. You said at a gathering yesterday that there is a growing influence of Christianity in Nepal. Can you elaborate? An attempt is being made to disrupt communal harmony in Nepal. Some NGOs and INGOs want to undo our social fabric in a planned manner. A lot of money is being poured into Nepal for spreading Christianity. I am not against any religion though I have no religion myself. But what is happening is against our societal order. The issue of Dalits, Janjatis, indigenous people, Madhesis and other marginalized groups has emerged as an important agenda. How will you address this if you obtain a position of power? The issue of marginalized communities is being raised artificially without understanding Nepali history. How can Western countries talk about the indigenous issue in a country which had an indigenous man as speaker and has Madhesis as president and vice-president. This is an attack on our civilisation. In addition, it was the communist party which raised the issue of inequality and discrimination in Nepal for the first time. Why should outsiders be teaching us and showing disrespect for our efforts? Nnnn ELECTION COMMISION INVITES THREE PARTIES FOR TALKS Kathmandu, 19 June: The Election Commission has invited three agitating forces, the CPN-Maoist, the Federal Socialist Party and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal for talks tomorrow ]Wednesday], The Himalayan Times reports.. Election Commissioner Ayodhi Prasad Yadav said the EC will urge the agitating forces to forge consensus with other stakeholders and help the election body conduct Constituent Assembly elections in a free and fair manner. He said the EC will apprise the three forces about preparations they have made thus far and what they are going to do next. Yadav said the EC wanted all political parties to join the poll process and therefore wanted to engage them. FSP General Secretary Rajendra Shrestha, however, said his party had not received formal invitation for talks and the party leaders were yet to hold discussions about tomorrow’s meeting. “The EC cannot address our demands. The government and the four forces can,” Shrestha said. He said there was nothing in their demands that the four forces could not resolve. “Our core demand is: fix 60 per cent proportional representation. An all-party meeting should be called to forge consensus. If the four forces agree, even the CPN-M can join the poll process,” Shrestha claimed. He said if the government and the four forces wanted to take the agitating forces into confidence, they should issue a new order replacing the 25-point presidential order. Nnnn GANDAKI UNLEASHES TERROR Kathmandu, 19 June: The Gandak River, swollen due to incessant rainfall for the last three days, has started eroding number 12 spur in Nawalparasi, Hati Sharma writes in The Himalayan Times from Parasi. . Erosion by the rain-fed river has unleashed terror among locals. They fear that if the spur is breached their settlements will be inundated. The rising water level has obstructed maintenance work at spurs 3,5,11,12 and 13, as well as the construction of a new block. The flood in Gandak has swept away some blocks. Narayani River Concern Committee Chairman Ramprit Jayaswal said continuous erosion by the river at spur no 12 might sweep away an embankment and inundate the village. Last year, the flood in the river had cut the 163-metre-long spur no 12 into 53 metres. This year, the flood has already cut the spur into ten metres. Locals have demanded that an emergency be declared in the area. Premchand Gupta, a local, said an embankment breach might inundate 13 VDCs in Nepal and two dozen villages of Maharajgunj, Devriya and Gorakhpur districts in India. Meanwhile, officials from Nepal and India today made a field observation of the embankment. India’s Maharajgunj District Officer Somya Agrawal, engineer MK Singh, among others, and Nawalparasi CDO Kesavraj Ghimire, and engineer Prachandadev Bista, among others, had made the field observation of the embankment. Officials from both countries said they would report to the higher authorities of their respective countries to declare emergency and start work immediately. Ghimire added that he had informed the Home Ministry of the need to initiate emergency work. He said he had directed security agencies to stay on high alert in the district. Nnnn UML CONCLUDES NC MAIN RIVAL Kathmandu, 19 June: After its month long nationwide election campaign , the CPN-UML has jumped to conclusions that the Nepali Congress is its main rival in the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections, The Kathmandu Post reports. . The third largest party in the former CA, however, said it will have to face tough challenges from the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties in some constituencies. "The NC is our major competitor in the elections," said UML Secretary Shankar Pokharel. UML central representatives deployed in all 240 constituencies have told the party that the UCPN (M) has been losing its grip at the local level following a 'vertical split' with the breakaway faction led by Mohan Baidya. UML leaders have drawn a conclusion that Madhes-based parties, a decisive force after the 2008 CA elections, are weakening due now to frequent splits and clashes over leadership rows. A UML's central team mobilised to evaluate the party's strength in districts sees the leadership's ineffective role and defection of some senior party leaders as major challenges. A large majority of leaders from Janajati and Madhes, including Ashok Rai and Ram Chandara Jha, had quit, citing the party's unclear position on federalism and forms of governance. "Though the grassroots people are concerned about our leadership's ineffective role, they have taken UML as a decisive force," said Pokharel. Party leaders said the overall security situation has also improved this time compared to the previous CA elections. UML had mobilised around 240 central representatives in the last week of May. The representatives are scheduled to submit their respective reports at a Central Committee meeting scheduled for next week. "The party will formulate its election strategy only after going through the report," said another UML leader Karna Bahadur Thapa. The meeting is also supposed to take decision on the party's ninth general convention. Leaders are divided over whether to hold the convention before the CA elections or after. The five-year term of the Jhala Nath Khanal-led Central Committee is expiring in March 2014. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “We are unable to accept your demand for change of government, but your other demands could be considered, focusing on Constituent Assembly polls.” (Sher Bahadur Deua tells CPN Maoist Chief Baidhya, The Himalayan Times, 19 June) nnnn,


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