A press release issued by Maoist leaders Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai calls for a Mechi-Koshi bandh on 3 January. The date coincides with a civic felicitation program planned for the king and queen in Biratnagar. This puts not only the organisers of the civic reception in a difficult position but also the king and queen. If the program were cancelled it would appear they are giving into Maoist threats, and if it takes place the low turnout is likely to dampen the occasion.
The Maoist party, the People's Liberation Army and the Joint Revolutionary Peoples Council will also be co-ordinating a series of protest programs, including a publicity campaign till 14 January. From 15 to 28 January, the Maoists have planned public meetings, processions and various public mobilisation drives. From 29 January to 12 February, they have called for a people's resistance campaign and a bandh on 13 and 14 February to celebrate the party's eighth anniversary.
The Maoists have repeated their demands for a roundtable meeting, an interim government and a constituent assembly. They have warned stern action against corrupt individuals within and outside the palace. They have accused the government of being autocratic and not paying taxes. The strongly worded and comparatively long press release states that taxes collected from the general public has been misused for purchasing weapons and endorsing corrupt deals and commissions instead of being used for the economic and social good of the people.
There is a strong possibility the other political parties-who have been protesting the civic reception program but haven't made plans to undermine it-will silently support the bandh. The palace has put itself in a sticky situation since it has neither rectified the royal declaration of 4 October nor been able to create an environment conducive for talks with the Maoists.