After persistent pressure from the main opposition parties Nepali Congress and UML, the government backed down on its decision to legalise conflict-era land transactions carried out by the Maoist people’s government. The meeting of the Council of Ministers on February 9 reversed the decision of January 12, 2011 by ‘the decision will not stand and not be implemented’.
The State Restructuring Commission (SRC) could not come up with a consensus report. In the absence of agreement on disputed issues, the members divided into majority and minority groups. The Coordinator Madan Pariyar, Stella Tamang, Malla K Sundar, Bhogendra Jha, Krishna Hachhethu, and Surendra Mahato were in one camp and Ramesh Dhungel, Sabitri Gurung, and Sarbaraj Khadka were in the other camp. The majority report submitted to prime minister Baburam Bhattarai included the dissentions by the minority group, but minority group submitted a separate report to the prime minister.
Prime minister Baburam Bhattarai made attempts to hold dialogue with Congress and UML who had not sat down for talks after the government did not withdraw the decision of the Council of Ministers. When there was no possibility of three-party talks, prime minister Bhattarai, UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Congress vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel, and UML senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal met on the sidelines of the meeting of the Constitutional Committee at Singha Durbar. In the meeting, Prime Minister Bhattarai expressed commitment not to implement the government decision to legalise the land transactions carried out by the Maoist people’s government during the conflict. He asked them to sit for talks to take the peace and constitution-drafting process forward. Congress leader Paudel stated the condition for talks would be the withdrawal of the government decision.
After the prime minister Baburam Bhattarai called a meeting to discuss the stalled peace and constitution-drafting process among Nepali Congress, UML, and UDMF, the leaders reached the Peace and Reconstruction Ministry at Singha Durbar. When the leaders came to know of decision of the Council of Ministers to legalise the decisions of the Maoist people’s government during the conflict period regarding land transactions and deeds, the enraged Congress and UML leaders asked the prime minister and UCPN (M) to clarify the decision.
As there was no progress on the peace and constitution-drafting process, Congress, UML and other 16 political parties not in the governing coalition and UCPN (M) appeared in opposing corners. The opposition parties concluded that ‘the Maoists had backed down from the peace and constitution-drafting process’ and ‘peace process is obstructed because the government and UCPN (M) is not sincere towards implementing past agreements’. It was their decision that they would urge UCPN (M) to fully implement the past agreements. The 16 parties expressed their suspicion because of obstruction in the combatant integration and rehabilitation, and attempts to reverse the agreements reached in the sub-committee for dispute resolution.
There was an agreement in principle in the sub-committee for dispute resolution on directly elected president and prime minister elected from the parliament. There was also an agreement to outline the authorities of the president and prime minister in the constitution. Talking to journalists after the meeting of the sub-committee for dispute resolution on December 30, 2011, Prakash Man Singh said that there was agreement in principle in all outstanding issues except and state restructuring and on which further discussions were necessary.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and chairperson of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Subash Nemwang filed separate petitions at the Supreme Court seeking a review of the Court’s judgement on the CA term that it will automatically come to end if the constitution is not promulgated within the stipulated time. In the petitions, they had sought the review arguing that the Court’s decision is without legal precedents and against legal principles. However, the Court rejected the petition saying that the petition had no legal basis and context.