Government and Chand in blame game over talksThe home minister said Chand’s party has not shown interest in talks even though the outfit has specifically put forth preconditions to come to the table.
Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa on Tuesday said that the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal is a major threat to political achievements gained by the country.
At a press conference organised at the Home Ministry, Thapa listed what he called his achievements but did not elaborate on how he plans to bring the Chand outfit to the table for talks.
“Federalism and a federal democratic republican set-up are our political achievements and it’s time to safeguard them. The Biplab group poses a threat to these achievements,” Thapa said, by referring to Chand using his nom de guerre.
Thapa’s statement comes a day after Chand warned of counterattacks if the government does not release his party leaders.
Though the government has said it is open to talks with the Chand party, it has not taken any concrete initiative so far. Instead, Thapa said Chand has not shown any interest for talks.
The Chand party, however, has put forth three preconditions for talks: an official invitation, lifting of the ban on its activities, and release of its leaders.
“We have heard that they have put forth some conditions for talks, but they have not come up with an official proposal yet,” said Thapa.
At least three Chand party leaders who spoke with the Post said that the government has dangled the dialogue bait, but it does not appear committed, leaving the party confused about the way forward.
“Did the home minister speak a word about the government’s response on the conditions [put forth by Chand party] for talks?” said Gunaraj Lohani, a writer with close relations to the Communist Party of Nepal.
“I think one faction of the ruling party led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is up for talks and the other faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal wants to foil the initiative.”
A former Maoist leader who has been critical of the government’s move of banning the Chand outfit’s activities said the ruling party has lost the plot and it believes there’s no political agenda left in the country.
“For those who believe there is no political agenda anymore, raising the issue of political changes becomes a problem,” said Biswobhakta Dulal, who quit the Maoist party after it decided to merge with the CPN-UML. “Most political achievements including federalism and inclusiveness are yet to be institutionalised. There still are political agendas in the country.”
Political analysts say there is something amiss in the government’s approach to dealing with the Communist Party of Nepal, which is an offshoot of the Maoist party that waged a decade-long war.
“I don’t think the Chand party poses any threat to federalism and the republican set-up,” said Shyam Shrestha, who has closely followed the Maoist war. “Instead, the Oli administration has emerged as a threat.”
Shrestha said the government is failing to make an earnest gesture of goodwill to bring the Chand party to the negotiating table.
“The home minister’s comments today do not reflect their commitment for talks,” said Shrestha. “It looks like he was trying to divert attention.”
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