Maoists to blame for delay in peace, statute: UML leaders
KATHMANDU, March 4: Top leaders of CPN-UML on Sunday held the Maoist leaders responsible for the failure to conclude the peace and constitution drafting process.
Addressing a huge mass gathering of the party at Ratna Park in Kathmandu, UML leaders fiercely criticized the Maoist leaders for not renouncing violence and not working sincerely to conclude the peace and statute drafting in accordance with the past agreements.
Leaders, including the party chairman Jhalanath Khanal, former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, KP Sharma Oli, Bamdev Gautam, Ashok Rai and Ishwar Pokharel told the gathering that the UCPN (Maoist) and Nepali Congress (NC), among other rivals, not only lack the right policy but are also not sincere about institutionalizing democracy.
The leaders argued that the policy adopted by UML can only ensure progress in the society by institutionalizing the achievements so far. Also, Chairman Khanal and Vice-Chairman Gautam, who are believed to have soft-corner toward the Maoists, lambasted the former rebel party and said the Maoist leaders can´t be a trusted partner.
“The Maoist party has still not gotten rid of its obsession with the concept of one-party dictatorship nor has it renounced violence completely,” said Khanal. He also fiercely criticized NC. He said that though NC leaders claim to be the champions of democracy, they are not ready for socio-economic changes. “Political rights such as freedom of speech and right to assemble alone are not enough but the Nepali Congress is not ready to go beyond that,” he said.
However, former Prime Minister Nepal argued that the UCPN (Maoist) should squarely be held responsible for not advancing the peace and constitution writing.
“The Maoist party alone holds the key to the peace process. UML and NC can´t take it forward unless the Maoists are ready,” said Nepal, who spent most of the time criticizing Maoists. He argued that blaming all the parties for the failure to advance peace and constitution would be an injustice to leaders from non-Maoist parties.
Nepal also vowed to foil the Maoists´ plan to politicize the national army. He urged one and all to understand the Maoists´ ulterior motive behind demanding key positions such as generals and colonels. “We don´t need to go too far to find possible consequences of politicizing the national army. Recent incidents in our neighboring countries such as Myanmar, Pakistan and Bangladesh speak volumes,” said Nepal.
The former prime minister claimed it was the government led by him that foiled the Maoist´s plan to capture power through revolt. “Maoist leaders have admitted it in public many times,” he said.
Oli, a harsh critic of the Maoists, described the former rebel party as an irresponsible force in the CA. He argued that to expect the party to conclude the tasks of peace and constitution is like harvesting crops with the help of monkeys.
Gautam, who is believed to be close to Maoist leaders, including Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, wasn´t kind to Maoists either. He was of the view that the Maoists can´t be trusted as a leading force because “it is the same party that advocates a policy of revolt even as the party leads the government”.
Party General Secretary Pokharel urged the party rank and file to not get confused over the UML´s policy. "We [UML] formed a coalition with NC and at another point of time our party also worked with Maoists,” he said. “But we are ready to work with the Maoists only if they are ready to advance the peace process by renouncing violence.” He said they can´t work with the Maoists anymore if they still hesitate to give up the war-time tactics.
The leaders also said that the party´s three-month intra-party unity campaign had rejuvenated the party. They tried to convince the cadres that the third-largest party is going to establish itself as the largest.
Allaying cadres´ suspicions about intra-party feud, the leaders also vowed to leave no stone unturned to strengthen party unity.
Thousands of cadres were bussed in from across the country for the gathering.