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Maoists quit Nepal interim govt
Threaten to disrupt poll, raise arms again
Bishnu Budhathoki writes from Kathmandu

The Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists, which had joined eight-party coalition government on April 1, internationally known as April Fool Day, has quit the government four and a half months later.

All four Maoist ministers, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Dev Gurung, Hisila Yami and Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma, tendered their resignations to Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala as the last-ditch negotiation among the top-brass leaders of major parties at the Prime Minister’s residence at Baluwatar this morning failed to convince the Maoists not to quit the government.

The Maoist ministers headed towards the venue of a mass meeting organised by the party to announce its further protest programme against the government for not fulfilling their demands within the given time frame.

However, Prime Minister Koirala has not accepted their resignation yet. Maoists’ chairman Prachanda had given an ultimatum to the seven-party alliance that they would quit the government and declare fresh people’s movement if the government failed to meet their 22-point preconditions such as declaration of a republic through interim parliament and full proportional electoral system to ensure constituent Assembly elections slated for November 22 by this morning.

However, Koirala on Monday had ejected the Maoist proposal, saying that such decision would not garner international recognition as the eight-party alliance had already reached an understanding to adopt mixed electoral system and decide the fate of monarchy only after the election.

The cordial relation between the seven parties and the Maoists started to sour just after the fifth plenum of the Maoist held last month put forward 22 “pre-conditions”.

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Uncertainty over poll

Just after quitting the government, the Maoists have formally announced nationwide protest movement from Tuesday. Addressing a mass meeting organised by the party in the capital on Tuesday, Maoist second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai vowed to disrupt the constituent assembly poll if they were held without declaring the country a republic and adopting full proportional electoral system.

He declared that his party would call a nationwide general strike from October 4 to 6 intending to disrupt the elections.

Bhattarai dubbed the poll as “a drama” and vowed to violate the code of conduct issued by the election commission from today itself.

Threatening to raise arms again, he said “The Maoists will be forced to raise arms again if the peaceful protests were suppressed by the government in the pretext of holding the election without fulfilling our demands first.” "The movement will be peaceful and the People's Liberation Army will remain inside the cantonments during the movement," he said, further adding, “though the eight-party unity is endangered, the 12-point agreement had not been ended yet.”

He accused Koirala of trying to skip the Maoists. He said the PM did not even give enough time to them during the last-ditch efforts to save the eight-party unity this morning. Meanwhile, hundreds of Maoist cadres and supporters gathered at major intersections in the capital before the mid-day and proceeded towards the “Open Theatre” chanting slogans before attending the mass meeting.

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