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More polarisation

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

Om Astha Rai

After an ugly display of anger by opposition lawmakers followed by their nationwide general strike that led to clashes in several places, a new constitution by January 22 looks more uncertain than ever before.

Post Monday midnight, lawmakers of the UCPN (M)-led alliance of 30 opposition parties broke chairs and hurled micro phones to bar the Constituent Assembly (CA) Chair Subash Nembang from allowing formation of a questionnaire committee – the first step towards holding a vote on the new constitution.

The scuffle left three marshals injured and damaged properties worth about Rs three million.

CA members of UCPN(M) destroy chairs protesting against CA’s decision to initiate the process for vote

CA members of UCPN(M) destroy chairs protesting against CA’s decision to initiate the process for vote on Tuesday. Pic: Bikram Rai

A few hours later, early Tuesday morning, a group of vandals supposed to be UCPN (M) cadres launched their nationwide general strike by torching a taxi in Dhobighat, Lalitpur. The strike enforcers also torched two motorcycles in Babarmahal, Kathmandu. Even outside Kathmandu Valley, they vandalized a press vehicle, a ruling party’s office and clashed with policemen.

As soon as the CA meeting that was postponed to Tuesday afternoon after Monday midnight’s brawl began, opposition lawmakers started shouting slogans yet again, this time without resorting to vandalism. They walked out only after the CA Chair postponed the meeting to Wednesday.

Opposition lawmakers, led by the UCPN (M) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice Chair Baburam Bhattarai, marched towards Babarmahal, where Dahal was scheduled to address his cadres and announce the end of general strike.

UCPN (M) cadres went berserk as they attempted to go near their leaders, breaking a barricade by police. In an ensuing clash, three UCPN (M) leaders, including Janardan Sharma ‘Prabhakar’, were injured. Even Dahal had to be escorted to safety by police.

After Dahal was whisked away, Bhattarai addressed UCPN (M) cadres and said what transpired on Monday midnight in the CA was the start of a revolt against political forces ‘hell-bent on reviving 1990’s constitution’.

After vandalism and general strike just two days ahead of the constitution deadline, major political parties appear even more polarised. Some leaders of ruling parties have ruled out talks, at least for the time being, with the opposition.

CPN (UML) leader Jhal Nath Khanal, emerging out of the CA building, told journalists: “Let them (opposition lawmakers) shout slogans; it’s their rights. There will be no talks (with them).”

Madhav Kumar Nepal, another CPN (UML) leader, accused the UCPN (M) Chair Dahal of shying away from negotiations on the disputed issues.

However, NC leader Narhari Acharya used a softer tone. He said, “Even now, the Maoists will have no options but to sit for talks.”

As top leaders are unlikely to hold more closed-door talks at least for now, a consensus-based constitution looks nowhere in sight. Even passing the new constitution through a vote looks impossible, with opposition lawmakers determined to disrupt the house every time the CA meeting is convened to form a questionnaire committee.




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5 Responses to “More polarisation”

  1. ganesh on Says:

    What a disgrace. Useless politics – valuable time and national resources used to bring down the country. Words are useless, hurling it at donkeys. Leaders of other countries work towards the upliftment of their citizens and country. Nepali leaders cannot distinguish their heads from their tails. What a shame.

  2. Nyima on Says:

    How can we trust these lawmakers to be our leaders? They have puely displayed an ugly behaviour and sent a clear message to the world about their hideous intention of selfishness, arrogance and more importantly their true color.

    We should make them pay for the all the damaged properties. I really hope that the fund doesn’t come out of state’s coffer- tax payer’s hard earned money.

  3. Norkyel Tseten on Says:

    Maoist Party of Prachanda should pay the bill. That will deter future vandalism and instill a sense of civilisation.

  4. Paras Singh on Says:

    Don’t attempt to start what you won’t be able to stop. Pitching bothers against brothers – recipe for civil war.

  5. Nabin Shrestha on Says:

    they said 3ml. Loss yesterday. Yehi ho mouka ma chouka.

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