HLPC agrees to defer poll if Baidya-led alliance joins in
Alliance commits to poll but sets conditions to ensure promulgation of statute through new CA KATHMANDU, Aug 14 : The four major political parties represented in the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) have agreed to reschedule the Constituent Assembly (CA) election now slated for November 19 if the 33-party alliance of agitating parties led by the CPN-Maoist agrees to take part in the election.
During a meeting held at New Baneshwor on Wednesday, the HLPC agreed to respond positively to the request of the agitating Mohan Baidya-led alliance to put off the election date on condition the Baidya-led alliance is ready to participate in the election.
The two sides have agreed to sit for talks again on Thursday to further discuss the specific demands of the agitating alliance.
Talking to media after the meeting, CPN-UML leader Raghuji Panta, who participated in the meeting, said the talks with the Baidya-led alliance ended on a positive note. “The demands they have put to us verbally are flexible. They have expressed readiness to go to polls,” Panta said.
Panta said the major parties represented in the HLPC have agreed to reschedule the poll date as per the request of the Baidya-led alliance. “The date of the election is a secondary thing. We can reconsider the poll date if you give us a commitment to participate in the poll,” Panta quoted HLPC leaders as telling the Baidya-led alliance.
Should the parties formally decide to reschedule the poll after reaching an agreement with the Baidya-led alliance, possibilities are the fresh election will be held only towards April or May.
Though the meeting was earlier touted as ´decisive´, it could not reach any conclusion after the Baidya-led alliance demanded basic agreement on all contentious issues before the poll while at the same time expressing its commitment to polls.
“We said we are not against promulgating a new constitution through the CA. But we also said clearly that promulgating a new statute would be impossible if the dissenting groups are not brought into a consensus,” Mani Thapa, general secretary of the Revolutionary Communist Party, told Republica as having said to the HLPC.
At the outset of the meeting Wednesday, HLPC coordinator Pushpa Kamal Dahal had proposed taking the negotiations to a conclusion, asking whether the Baidya-led alliance was committed to the fresh CA poll. But as the alliance said they were committed to polls, the HLPC had decided to sit for another round of talks.
Earlier, the Baidya-led alliance had put forth 18 various demands including formation of a government led by political parties, creation of conducive grounds for the poll, scrapping of the 25-point ordinance and 11-point political deal, dissolution of the HLPC and annullment of the recent amendment to the Citizenship Act.
But as the alliance also demanded deferral of the November 19 poll, the HLPC had decided to hold ´decisive´ talks on Wednesday while concluding that the agitating alliance was not committed to polls.
Though the HLPC also held another round of talks with the Federal Democratic Front (FDF) Wednesday evening, there was no agreement on hand. “The HLPC had come without doing any homework on our demands. All we did today was just meet and see each other´s faces,” said FDF spokesperson Parshu Ram Tamang after the meeting.
According to UML leader Panta, the four major parties represented in the HLPC are scheduled to hold an internal meeting Thursday afternoon to arrive at a consensus on the FDF demands before sitting for talks with it in the evening. “We have already agreed in principle to address the demands. But we are yet to work out how to do so,” he said.