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Walk the talk

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

“We will not hand over the weapons that were exchanged with blood,” Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told his cadres at a function in the capital on Friday. He attended the program during a break after first round of talks with other political parties.

Dahal’s statement has come at a time when the opposition parties including a faction of ruling party UML have made submission of weapons possessed by the Maoist combatants to the government, a condition for extension of the CA.

He also told his cadres that NC and UML have been putting unreasonable demands of submission of weapons. He assured them that the party is careful in dealing with the opposition while keeping the party’s interest to reach an agreement on the extension of the CA term.

NC is firm in its stance on the submission of weapons of the Maoist combatants as a condition to the extension of the CA term, which looks justifiable given that the peace has been stuck in the past one year mostly on the issue of the PLA integration.

It is up to the Maoists whether they want to save the CA by agreeing to initiate the integration process or let the CA dissolve to take the path of revolt along Baidhya’s line. Dahal is already under pressure from Baidhya faction to push for political line of revolt. Baidhya is known to have said that he would prefer dissolution of the CA rather than handing over the weapons to the state.

The Maoists decision to abandon the line of people’s revolt for the line of peace and constitution last month had created an environment of trust and brought the parties to a table for talks. If the Maoists make the PLA
integration and submission of weapons to state authority an issue in political negotiation, their commitment to peace and constitution writing process will be doubted.

Maoist Chairman Dahal is infamous for saying one thing while his intentions are different. If he really meant what he told his cadres on Friday, the peace process will be in jeopardy and Dahal himself cannot afford to lose the achievements made so far.

With 12 hours left before the CA expires, the political parties have to reach a consensus to avoid constitutional void. For that, they should finalise two things: decide on handover of weapons possessed by the Maoist combatants to the state as an initiation of integration process and formation of a national unity government to promulgate the constitution.

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