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:: Nepal in Transition Monthly Updates UCPN (M) stresses Peace and Constitution (March 18-24)
Sunday, 25 March 2012 09:29

UCPN (M) stresses Peace and Constitution (March 18-24)

After the Vaidya faction of UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya announced a protest programme demanding resignation of prime minister Baburam Bhattarai in a press conference, chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal held consultation with officials close to him. In the meeting attended by chairperson Dahal, vice-chairperson and prime minister Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairperson Narayankaji Shrestha, and secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati agreed that ‘the prime minister will not resign simply because Vaidya faction demands and peace and constitution-drafting process will be taken forward’.

The next day, the leaders of UCPN (M) establishment faction held a meeting at Hotel Summit in Kupondol. In the meeting, the leaders expressed the view that the prime minister should resign only when there is a consensus for national government among the political parties or if there is a majority no-confidence motion in the parliament. The leaders suggested that ‘despite obstruction from the Vaidya faction, constitution-drafting process should be taken forward’, and they also alleged that ‘by announcing movement protests and movement, the Vaidya faction had broken the party discipline’.

Chairperson Dahal claimed that he was in favour of unity in the party despite Vaidya faction trying to split. In the two-day meeting, the establishment faction leaders suggested the leadership to call a meeting of the central committee to discuss the constitution-drafting. Dahal held a discussion with Vaidya on calling a meeting of the central committee. Vaidya dismissed the proposal of chairperson Dahal to call a meeting of the central committee. He claimed that there was no point in calling the central committee meeting as long as the decisions of the previous meeting are not implemented.

The next day in a meet with journalists at his residence in Lazimpat, chairperson Dahal accused the ‘Vaidya faction of trying to disrupt the peace and constitution-drafting process and trying to split the party’. He also clarified that he does not want to push the country towards ‘darkness’ by abandoning peace and constitution-drafting process midway. Meanwhile, the Vaidya faction announced a United National People’s Struggle Committee by forming an alliance of 11 political parties and ethnic groups including Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, CPN (Maoists), Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) to launch a movement for people’s constitution among other issues.

In the meantime, the meeting of UML standing committee decided to mobilise people to exert pressure for peace and constitution-drafting. UML CA members formed a ‘pressure’ committee for timely constitution-drafting. In a meeting of CA members from nine political parties in the Constituent Assembly led by UML CA members, the members gave an ultimatum of until April 2 to complete the peace and constitution-drafting process to the Constitutional Committee, AISC, and senior leaders.

The chairperson of the Constitutional Committee Nilambar Acharya called a meeting of CA chairperson Subash Nemwang, UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel, UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal and chief whips of the parties. In the meeting, the leaders agreed to discuss peace process and disputed issues in the constitution-drafting process by calling a meeting of AISC. They also agreed to call a meeting of the main three parties.

The meeting of AISC gave the responsibility of setting the procedures of integration of Maoist combatants, process, and qualification to the secretariat. In the meeting of the dispute resolution sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee, the leaders agreed to discuss the disputed issues once the peace process moved forward. In a meeting of the Constitutional Committee the same, the leaders also agreed to extend the deadline of the sub-committee to conclude the disputed issues.

Major Developments


March 18

After strong protests, the son of UCPN (M) chairperson Prakash Dahal holds a press conference to announce that he will not accept NRS 20 million given by the government for his bid climb the Everest. He asks that the amount be given to the conflict-affected.
Meeting of senior leaders of establishment faction of UCPN (M) agrees that the prime minister will not resign instead decides to stresses on the formation of a national consensus government.
Congress issues a whip to its CA members to not go on foreign trips until May 27, saying the meeting of the CA can sit at anytime.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai issues directions to the ministers, state ministers, and secretaries. Warns of action if irregularities are found in the transfer of employees. Requests to inform him and the office of the prime minister if there is any undue pressure.
National meeting of legal professionals asks to complete the peace process within 15 days and issues a Kathmandu declaration demanding an independent judiciary in the new constitution.
UML CA members form a pressure committee for timely constitution-drafting; Yamlal Kandel is the coordinator.
State Minister for Health and Population Saroj Yadav misbehaves with doctors of the Bir Hospital in a drunken rage.

March 19

Legal professionals meet UML chairperson at UML party office. Khanal states that whether the constitution gets drafted within May 27 depends on the role of UCPN (M).
Meeting of establishment faction of UCPN (M) Hotel Summit in Kupondol. Leaders suggest the prime minister not to resign under pressure from Vaidya faction.
Meeting of parliamentary party of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (Loktantrik) discusses the role of the leaders in the government, implementation of four-point agreement with UCPN (M) during the formation of the present government among others.
Meeting of pressure committee formed by UML CA members decides to bring out pressure programmes for peace process and timely constitution.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai seeks clarification from State Minister for Health and Population Saroj Yadav, Minister for Land Reforms and Management Jwala Kumari Shah, and Minister for Labour and Transportation. Press advisor of the prime minister Ram Rijhan Yadav states that the prime minister warned against repeating such behaviours again in the future.

March 20

UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal addresses a meeting of central leaders loyal to him. Says he is for party unity. Suggestion for calling a meeting of the central committee to discuss the differences.
A meeting of CA chairperson Subash Nemwang, chief whips and top leaders of UCPN (M), Congress, and UML at the behest of chairperson of the Constitutional Committee Nilambar Acharya. Agreement to call a meeting of AISC and three major parties within two days to seek consensus on the peace process and constitution-drafting.
Meeting of nine political parties in the CA called by UML CA members decides given an ultimatum of until April to the Constitutional Committee, AISC, and senior leaders to complete the peace and constitution-drafting process.
Former prime minster and chairperson of Rastriya Janashakti Party holds a press conference at his residence in Maligaun and states that the country might head for an accident after May 27 if the constitution is not promulgated by then.
UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal meets officials of Nepal Jaycees. States he is in favour of a democratic constitution.

March 21

UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal holds a discussion with vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya on party differences. Vaidya rejects the request for call for the central committee meeting by the chairperson.
Meeting of UML standing committee decides to launch a pressure campaign for peace and constitution-drafting.
Meeting of judicial council decides to defer judgement on a complaint against 21 judges citing lack of evidence.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya says that there is no alternative to a people’s constitution.
Chief Justice Khilraj Regmi says that if justice-selection process is politicised, the judiciary cannot remain independent.
The scheduled visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon from April 28 is postponed.

March 22

Meeting of AISC gives the responsibility of preparing the procedures, process, and setting the qualifications for army integration.
UCPN (M) Pushpa Kamal Dahal meets journalists at his residence. Accuses vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction of trying to disrupt peace and constitution-drafting process. Claims army integration will start in two days.
Congress president Sushil Koirala states that peace and constitution-drafting process will not start until the seven-point agreement is implemented. Also says constitution without democracy and pluralism will not be acceptable to his party.
UML chairperson Jhala Nath Khanal leaves for Delhi for check-up on his health.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya holds discussion with 11 organisations including Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, CPN (Maoists), and Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN). Agreement to launch movement by forming a front. States the party will be split to launch the movement if it comes to that.
The Judges’ Society of Nepal meets Congress president Sushil Koirala and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party president Mahantha Thakur demanding guarantee of an independent judiciary in the new constitution.

March 23

Meeting of dispute resolution sub-committee of the Constitutional committee decides to accelerate constitution-drafting process after the peace process moves forward and decides to seek extension of its mandate through the Business Advisory Committee.
Meeting of the Constitutional Committee agrees to extend the deadline for discussion.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai dismisses minister for Labour and Transportation Sarita Giri for financial irregularities and inducts Malabar Singh Thapa of Janamukti Party as labour minister. State minister for Land Reforms is shifted to Ministry of Tourism and Minister for Tourism Dilip Maharjan to the Ministry of Land Reforms.
Meeting of CA members warns of sit-ins in the Constituent Assembly and Singha Durbar to exert pressure on the top leaders for peace and constitution-drafting.
28 central leaders of Nepal Students Union submit their resignation against the formation of an ad-hoc committee.
UCPN (M) vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya faction forms National People’s Struggle Committee and stresses on a people’s constitution.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai holds discussion with Chief of Army Staff Chhatra Man Gurung, AISC secretary Balananda Sharma, Maoist combatant spokesperson Chandra Prakash Khanal, and government chief secretary Madhav Prasad ghimire. The AISC secretariat is directed to submit a work plan on the integration process within five days.
Minister of Health Saroj Yadav who had misbehaved while drunk performs self-criticism in front of the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai.

March 24

UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya discuss party differences at the former’s residence in Lazimpat. No agreement is reached.
19 political parties including CPN (Masal), CPN (ML), CPN (Marxists) submit a memorandum to the prime minister. Warn of protests if the constitution is not promulgated by May 27.
Women journalists meet prime minister Baburam Bhattarai. Prime minister Bhattarai commits to promulgate the constitution within two months by concluding the peace process.