KATHMANDU, Sept 6: Now only the 33-party alliance led by the CPM-Maoist is still out in the cold.
Upendra Yadav´s Federal Democratic Front has agreed to the CA elections and the Ashok Rai-led alliance has already agreed in principle though it is yet to sign a deal with the High Level Political Committee (HLPC). Recently, the CPN-Maoist led alliance made public its next series of agitations, including general strikes, to register its serious objection to the current political and electoral process.
The eyes of the nation and the international forces are now focused on the CPN-Maoist. Will they or won´t they participate in the constituent assembly election? And if the Baidya-led Maoists boycott the election, what will be Nepal´s political course?
Unfortunately, neither side is ready to rethink their political stance. The Baidya-led alliance says the ball is in the court of the HLPC and vice versa. And following the failure of the meeting between the alliance and the HLPC, talks have not reopened. Both sides are in a ´wait and see´ mood, with the HLPC wanting to force the Maoists to accept the current political process and the Baidya-led alliance sticking to its own stance.
The last talks failed after the HLPC refused to make change of government and rescheduling of the poll date of November 19 issues for discussion at a proposed roundtable. The alliance had then immediately urged the HLPC to rethink their stance. The alliance and HLPC had previously agreed to hold a roundtable.
Earlier, the alliance and the government and also the alliance and HLPC held various rounds of talks separately. After not getting any response from HLPC, the alliance submitted a memorandum to President Ram Baran Yadav to facilitate a roundtable.
The agitating CPN-Maoist led alliance has made public its program of agitations against the current political and electoral process, while keeping open the door for talks. But the government and the HLPC have not responded, arguing that they will be ready for talks only after assurances from the Baidya-led Maoists about joining elections.
"The way to consensus will be open if the four parties [UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front] agree to discuss all the issues at the roundtable without any preconditions. Going for elections or not is the next thing. We have been making public time and again our position that we are ready to accept the decisions of a roundtable," Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, politburo member of the CPN-Maoist, told Republica, arguing that the decisions should be made binding on all forces participating in the roundtable.
He said that there is no elected body in Nepal at present and all the forces should accept and implement the decision of the roundtable, citing the example of the HLPC. HLPC has been making the political decisions now, he said.
The Maoist leaders claimed that the way to political consensus will open automatically if the four parties agree to discuss all issues at the roundtable.
"We voiced serious objection to the decision of the four parties to end the talks and urged them to rethink. But we have not gotten any response and we do not see any initiative for further talks," reads a paper presented by party Secretary Dev Gurung at an interaction held on Thursday in the capital.
"A roundtable will solve the two issues: a] find a way out of the political crisis resulting from the undemocratic and unconstitutional situation, b] the basis will be readied for drafting the constitution through discussions on its contents," added Bishwakarma.
According to him, there is no meaning to CA elections or any other thing without assurances about constitution-making. He said that the roundtable will find the solution to the current political crisis and will ensure constitution drafting also. The Maoists argued that such powers should be given to the roundtable and the political parties should accept its decision.
"The main agenda is to draft the constitution and the CA election is the means. We are ready to accept the decision of the roundtable," said Biswhwakarma when asked if the Maoists will participate in election or not.
According to the alliance, the four parties are responsible for dissolving the CA without writing a constitution and there is no possibility of writing a constitution under their leadership.
Maoist central committee member Maheshwar Dahal told Republica that more than 10 points in the 18-point demand of the alliance are related to constitution drafting. He said that talks can result in ´give and take´ but the HLPC is not ready for any solution and is only rising preconditions.
Both sides are now saying that the solution is talks. The alliance has been saying that the solution is the principle of consensus and that means talks. Blaming each other, neither side is ready to be flexible.
"If the four parties are not ready to find a solution through talks, we will face the next conflict. The decision of the four parties to deploy the Nepal Army for polls shows that the four parties are not going to hold the election, they are going to impose a conflict," added Bishwakarma.