KATHMANDU, Jan 30: Brushing aside allegations that their protest was aimed only at securing the prime ministerial berth, opposition party leaders on Tuesday said the protests announced by their alliance were instead aimed at creating a conducive environment for fresh Constituent Assembly (CA) elections and completing the unfinished task of drafting a new constitution.
Addressing a joint rally organized at Sahid Gate in Kathmandu to mark Martyrs´ Day, senior leaders of the opposition parties said they were forced to take to the streets as the current Baburam Bhattarai-led Maoist government was bent on imposing totalitarianism on the country after purposefully dissolving the popularly elected body last May-end.
They also claimed that the Bhattarai government would step down soon as the opposition parties had already initiated decisive protests against ´totalitarianism´.
Addressing the rally, senior CPN-UML leader K P Sharma Oli said they were forced to go for street action as Nepal would not see fresh elections as long as the Maoists remained in power.
Opposition parties rally. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)
“The inability to form a new government has become a matter of shame. The current government is already rotten to the core. If we allow this government to continue, it will start stinking,” said Oli, while giving a list of irregularities and acts of corruption committed by the Bhattarai government.
Oli also alleged that the Maoists would never let other parties promulgate a democratic constitution as they wanted to promulgate a one-party constitution, which was in their interest.
He said that the totalitarianism of the Maoists would soon come to an end as the opposition parties had already stepped up the final installment of their battle against ´one-party totalitarianism´.
Also addressing the rally, NC General Secretary Prakash Man Singh argued that the opposition parties were forced to take to the streets as the Maoist-led government had tried to snatch away the people´s rights gained through various political struggles in the past.
(Photo: Dipesh Shrestha)
“Since the CA was abruptly dissolved, our focus now is on finishing the unfinished task of statute drafting after ensuring fresh CA elections,” he said while refuting allegations that their protests were aimed only at securing the prime ministerial berth.
Singh also said that the Bhattarai government was announcing election dates one after another just to prolong its stay in powers.
“Remarks by the prime minister that he did not have the keys of the government have borne out the fact that nationalism and democracy are at risk. I appeal to everyone to come out on the streets to safeguard democracy and nationalism,” he added.
Also addressing the rally, UML leader Krishna Gopal Shrestha said their protests on Tuesday were just a taste of things to come, and their ongoing movement against the government´s totalitarianism would make it cow down soon.
“This is just a rehearsal. Prachanda appears to have gone mad, talking about ruling the country for the next 20 years. The current government is already a rotten mango on a tree. It will soon fall of its own accord,” he said.
NC leader Nabindra Raj Joshi alleged that the current government was involved in massive corruption and irregularities. “The government has not only flouted the principle of rule of law, but also formed a Pachayat-style retaliation committee,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Bhattarai had deliberately dissolved the CA to impose totalitarianism in the country.
Other leaders of the opposition alliance including Ganesh Shah of CPN (United), Lal Dhwoj Lama of Rastriya Janashakti Party and Damber Shrestha of CPN-ML had also addressed the rally.
Earlier, rallies taken out by nine different opposition parties had converged at Bhrikutimandap from various parts of the Valley before marching on to Sahid Gate
PM emptying Kulekhani reservoir to get new govt into trouble
Oli has accused the current Baburam Bhattarai-led government of emptying the Kulekhan reservoir on the pretext of reducing load-shedding by two hours.
He alleged that this was a deliberate attempt to land the new government in dificulties as it could lead to 20 hours daily load-shedding at the peak of the dry season.
Kulekhani is the only reservoir-type hydropower plant in Nepal.