KATHMANDU, May 26: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has proposed extending for the “last time” the term of Constituent Assembly (CA) with commitment from all CA members to work without regular allowance.
Addressing an interaction organized in the capital Wednesday, Dahal said there is no alternative to extending the CA term till a new constitution is promulgated through the elected body. “The term to be extended now should be the “last one”. It will be appropriate if the CA members do not take allowance for the extended term,” he said.
Dahal expressed confidence that the main opposition Nepali Congress, which holds a long credential of adhering to democratic and parliamentary norms and values, would not oppose extension of the CA term. “I do not believe that Nepali Congress has decided not to extend the CA term,” he said.
Dahal also hoped that the parties would arrive at consensus within the next couple of days as they are engaged in hectic parleys to settle contentious issues. “It is wrong to argue that there has been no progress on constitution drafting and peace process since the CA term was last extended,” he said. He said there are only 22 of the total 250 disputed issues in constitution writing to be resolved now. The People´s Liberation Army has come under the Special Committee and the Maoists are positive toward the Nepal Army´s proposal on army integration, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel said all political problems would be resolved once the Maoists detach themselves from their arms and armies. “We fought together for the Constituent Assembly and democracy. There is no point in extending the term of CA if it cannot ensure peace and a democratic constitution,” he said.
Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) Chairman Upendra Yadav argued that since the CA has already accomplished many tasks its term should be extended. “The parties only have two alternatives -- either to extend the CA term to promulgate the new constitution or push the country towards a fresh series of violence,” he said.
Arguing that the agitating ethnic groups would declare federal states on their own if the CA is dissolved Yadav said, “Millions of rupees have been spent to split the party. This is a conspiracy against peace, constitution and the Constituent Assembly,” he said.
Speaking at the same function, civil society leaders Shyam Shrestha, Damannath Dhungana and Renu Raj Bhandari demanded that the leaders apologize for their failure to promulgate the new constitution on time and urged them to work seriously to complete the task of concluding the peace process and writing the new constitution.