Prachanda averts Nepal house shutdownNovember 11th, 2008 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Nov 11 (IANS) Nepal’s Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, whose former guerrilla party had in the past paralysed parliament to press its demands, Tuesday had to swallow a dose of the same medicine to prevent the opposition from disrupting the house.Prachanda took the floor of the constituent assembly Tuesday to address nine demands tabled this week by the Nepali Congress (NC), the second largest party that is now sitting in opposition, and agreed to fulfil all of them.
This includes reshuffling a controversial committee that the government formed recently to begin the Herculean task of merging the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army with the state army. However, the panel could not be given full shape as the NC stayed away, refusing to join till it was revamped.
Though Prachanda had rejected the demand even 48 hours ago, he had to finally blink first following the NC’s threat that it would obstruct the house if the demands were not satisfactorily addressed by the prime minister Monday itself.
The other demands that Prachanda has agreed to implement as well include scrapping the military formation of the Young Communist League, the strong arm of the Maoists, returning the properties the rebels had captured during the ‘People’s War’ and providing compensation to the victims of the insurgency.
The Maoist surrender was on the cards with Prachanda scheduled to go to India on a three-day visit Wednesday to attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit.
He will also hold bilateral talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh Wednesday and would be at a disadvantage if the NC paralysed the house in his absence.
Prachanda also faces challenges to his leadership of the party at a convention of the party’s central committee that starts on Nov 18.