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Nepal Maoists end parliament siege
KATHMANDU, DEC 23 (Agencies):
Published on 23 Dec. 2009 10:59 PM IST
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Nepal’s Maoist party on Wednesday called off their siege to parliament, allowing the house to sit after six months. The former guerrillas also backed down on their dare to India to discuss the peace process instead of the ruling parties, saying their supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s statements to that effect Tuesday was only sarcasm. The former guerrillas, who had kept the interim parliament virtually blockaded since the fall of their eight-month government in May, finally lifted the obstruction, saying they were changing tacks since a paralysed house gave ammunition to the ruling parties to try dissolve it in May, when the new constitution is due, and impose President’s rule with the help of the Nepal Army. At the end of the Maoists’ parliamentary party’s meeting Wednesday, Maoist MP Narayan Kaji Shrestha also said that Prachanda’s statements at the end of the Maoists’ three-day bandh Tuesday was not intended to be taken literally. Wrapping up the general strike at a victory rally in the capital Tuesday, Prachanda had thrown a direct challenge to India, accusing it of naked intervention in Nepal’s internal matters. He said his party’s protracted talks with Nepal’s ruling parties remained stuck since the parties were mere underlings of the Indian government and were “remote-controlled” by New Delhi. “I held talks with the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, the Prime Minister... But none produced results. Now I have to go to Delhi for talks,” the former prime minister had said Trying to gloss over the remarks, Shrestha said that the statements were purely sarcastic since the parties were behaving like wooden puppets, failing to react. Shrestha however added that India was intervening in Nepal’s peace process and the drafting of the new constitution. In view of the developments, Shrestha said his party would keep up protests from the streets and would seek a new strategy to protest in parliament. The street protests include a month-long awareness campaign from Christmas Day after which the former rebels have decided to enforce an indefinite bandh from January-end.

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