Nepal Maoists ask India to scrap all ‘unequal’ pactsJanuary 19th, 2011 - 8:09 pm ICT by IANS
By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Jan 19 (IANS) Visiting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Wednesday met the chief of Nepal’s opposition Maoist party, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, and conveyed India’s concern at the growing anti-India sentiments attributed to the former guerrillas.The meeting with the Maoist chief, who has been calling India the principal obstruction to Nepal’s social progress and asking his cadres to be ready for a confrontation with the southern neighbour, was the cynosure of all eyes on a day assigned for meetings with the leaders of the major political parties, including the ruling communists, Nepali Congress and regional parties from the Terai plains.
Maoist party sources said Prachanda had told the Indian official that his party was not against India but wanted a fresh diplomatic start based on the changes that had taken place in Nepal since 2006.
Prachanda raised the old Maoist demand that all uneven bilateral pacts with India be scrapped and new agreements be drafted that would take note of the sea changes in Nepal, including the emergence of the Maoists as the biggest party after the elections in 2008.
The meeting with the Maoist chief was pushed back late in the evening as the party remained embroiled in a bitter tussle among its top leaders.
Prachanda remains locked in a struggle with his deputy, Baburam Bhattarai, and a nationwide training programme for Maoist supporters, that had started Tuesday, had to be put on hold 24 hours later after the Bhattarai camp boycotted it.
The feud smouldered on with the politburo of the party Wednesday unable to effect a patch-up and referring the dispute to a meeting of the central committee scheduled Thursday.
The infighting among the Maoists indicated Nepal would fail to get a consensus government by Friday, the deadline set by the President, Ram Baran Yadav.
The failure will lead to a fresh round of election to choose a new prime minister according to majority, a move that may come a cropper as well.
Since June, after the communist-led government resigned, Nepal’s parliament held 16 rounds of election but failed to get a new premier due to the fights among the parties over power-sharing.
However, one silver lining that Rao’s visit saw was the agreement among the Maoists and the caretaker government that the former’s guerrilla army, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), would be formally put under the control of a special committee from Saturday.
The committee, headed by caretaker prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, was formed to replace the UN political mission in Nepal that had been monitoring the PLA and national army for four years but exited from Nepal Jan 15.
Rao returns to New Delhi Thursday.
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: biggest party, bilateral pacts, central committee, consensus government, cynosure, dahal, infighting, maoist, nationwide training, nepal maoists, nepali congress, new prime minister, nirupama rao, prachanda, pushpa, regional parties, sarkar, sea changes, social progress, terai