KATHMANDU, Dec 28: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said his party and the 21-party alliance under his leadership will stand for revival of the Constituent Assembly (CA) if parties failed to agree on forming new election government by the second week of January.
CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, however, termed the idea of reviving the dissolved CA as "date expired medicine" that wouldn´t work when it comes to resolving the political crisis in the country.
The former prime ministers expressed opposing views on solving the protracted political stalemate while responding to some queries when they visited Nepal Republic Media on Friday separately to enquire about attack on journalists at Nagarik daily and vandalism at the office last week.
Dahal said his party will stand united for reviving the CA and he said that the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA) headed by himself has an univocal position on the proposal. "The alliance´s meeting yesterday [Thursday] unanimously decided to stand for CA revival if there is no consensus on ending the deadlock by January 29," said Dahal. "We are still for holding election by mid-May. But, we should go for revival option if we can´t ensure election by May."
Dahal argued that reinstatment of the elected body would be much wiser step instead of further postponement of election dates.
Stating that a large section of political forces is for ending the impasse by resinstating the elected body, Dahal said he sees the possibility of all the political parties ultimately agreeing on the CA reinstatement option.
"See, our party is united for reinstatement. Nepali Congress´ establishment is against reinstatement but 80 out of around total 112 former NC lawmakers have signed in favor of CA revival. Sher Bahadurji and Ram Chandraji are for revival," Dahal explained. "Similar is the situation in the UML. A section of the party is rigid against reinstatement but around 65 former lawmakers have lobbied for revival."
He also claimed that even lawyers and judges have lately realized that the Supreme Court´s verdict against CA´s term extension was ill-timed. "Even people in the court have now started to say that they shouldn´t have stood against CA extension had they foreseen present political complexity," he said. "So, lately, people are again realizing the need of the elected body."
But UML leader Nepal described the ruling coalition´s proposal to revive the CA as a tactic to prolong their stay in power and an execuse to avoid election.
"They don´t want to hold election in April or May. Their proposal for CA revival further proves this," he said.
He stated that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is bent on clinging to power and the opposition parties have now no alternative left other than to intensify protests.
He conceded that it was a mistake on the part of the opposition alliance to halt the anti-government protests announced last month.
He ruled out any possibility of NC and UML joining the present government. "We won´t join the Bhattarai government even for a minute. Period. First, the caretaker prime minister can´t expand his cabinet. Secondly, we have already burnt our fingers by joining Bhattarai government last May," said Nepal. He explained that they were betrayed by Bhattarai when NC and UML joined his government upon Maoist leaders´ request ahead of CA´s dissolution.
After separately interacting with mediapersons at Nepal Republic Media at its head office in Sundhara, Kathmandu, both Dahal and Nepal denounced the attack on journalists and vandalism at the Nagarik daily´s newsroom.
Dahal said the authorities must not show any sympathy toward the criminals who attack journalists. "The home ministry must take this issue seriously because it is clearly an attempt to terrorize mediapersons," said Dahal.
Nepal said last week´s attack was an attempt to silence the public by terrorizing journalists. "Those involved in the attack should get harsh punishments."