KATHMANDU, June 6: Terming the government´s announcement of fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) polls unconstitutional, leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML on Wednesday said they would boycott the polls.
Addressing an interaction organized by Press Chautari Nepal, NC General Secretary Prakashman Singh and CPN-UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel said the government´s announcement of fresh polls was unconstitutional and hence they would not participate in the election.
They also claimed that the polls if conducted would turn out to be a farce and share a fate similar to the local polls conducted by former King Gyanendra a few years ago. The Maoists had not yet joined mainstream politics then, while other major political parties, including the NC and UML, had boycotted the polls.
The leaders also accused the UCPN (Maoist) and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) of dissolving the CA in an irresponsible manner.
"The announcement of fresh CA polls has been made with the intent to impose Maoist autocracy," said Pokharel. He also criticized the UCPN (Maoist) for announcing fresh election without the consent of other political parties.
Pokharel, who was the deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs in the Bhattarai-led cabinet, walked out of the May 27 cabinet meeting, in which the prime minister had floated the proposal for fresh CA polls. Subsequently, the CPN-UML had quit the government.
The leaders also demanded that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai step down and pave the way for formation of a national unity government. NC and UML leaders also made it clear that they would negotiate a way out of the present constitutional crisis only if Bhattarai quits in advance.
"We will start talks on amending the interim constitution only after the prime minister steps down," said Singh.
He also said that NC will not accept CA reinstatement as the party had already turned down the government´s proposal for CA term extension.
NC President Sushil Koirala had immediately expressed disagreement over any further extension of CA term saying it was against the Supreme Court verdict even though NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula had registered a constitution amendment bill in his capacity as the law minister. NC had then quit the Bhattarai-led government.
"We are against reinstatement of CA because we have always stood against the proposal for CA term extension," said Singh.
Speaking at the same function, UML leader Krishna Gopal Shrestha claimed that they have completed all the preparatory works for “show of strength” at Kathmandu´s Khula Manch on Saturday. He said at least 100,000 people will participate in the mass gathering.
Altogether 27 political parties, including NC and UML have announced their joint mass gathering demanding the prime minister´s resignation.