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Govt-UCPN (M) rift widens

  • Maoists miffed at government’s ‘failure’ to set election date

KATHMANDU, APR 09 -

The delay in setting the date for fresh Constituent Assembly elections has widened the rift between the Interim Election Government and the UCPN (Maoist) party.

Senior Maoist leaders have expressed serious reservations about the government’s ‘failure’ to ‘abide’ by an 11-point agreement and declare the polls for the third week of June.

Three weeks after Khil Raj Regmi became the Chairman of the interim government, UCPN (Maoist) leaders threatened to hit the streets against the government if CA elections are thwarted.

“This government was formed to hold elections by the third week of June. We could have considered giving it another term had the June elections been missed because of some technical reasons,” Maoist Standing Committee member Barsha Man Pun told the Post. “If uncertainty over the poll date continues, the government will land in a difficult situation.”

A senior party leader claimed that former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has told his close aides that he feels ‘betrayed’ after the Regmi government started dillydallying when it came to holding the elections.

The party’s Politburo leader Devendra Poudel said it is the duty of the interim government and not the Election Commission to announce the date. “The country will go into an election atmosphere once the date is announced. We are a bit unsatisfied with the government for not according priority to election related activities,” he said.

In the 11-point agreement signed on March 13, four major political forces had agreed to give the Regmi government a second term until November if elections are not held by June.

An aide to Regmi said criticism against the incumbent government by Maoist leaders is “their political business” and that there is a political understanding that elections will not be held in June.

“They are simply doing their political business by demanding elections in June. Before the formation of this government last month, major parties had agreed that elections will be held in November,” the aide claimed.

Maoist leaders claim that elections will not be possible even in November if the government works in ‘such a slow pace.’

“We will take to the streets by withdrawing support to this government if it fails to conduct the elections,” said Poudel, who served as the political advisor

during the 18-month tenure of the Bhattarai-led government.

The Maoist leaders are also dissatisfied with the government’s preparations to unveil a new budget and its involvement in the promotion and transfers of security and bureaucratic officers.

The government is preparing to announce a full budget for the current fiscal year on Tuesday.

“The current government is purely an interim government and it has no mandate to unveil new policies and programmes. It also has no mandate to make new appointments and transfers,” said Pun, also a former finance minister.

The UCPN (Maoist)-led government had introduced an ‘advance’ budget of Rs 109 billion in July and another budget ordinance of Rs 351.93 billion in November last year.

Posted on: 2013-04-09 07:00