No way but only fresh poll will save nation: PM
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, after briefing President Dr Ram Baran Yadav of the government’s decision to hold fresh CA elections, organised a press conference at his residence late in the evening to justify government’s decision to hold fresh elections.
He said the government tried to save the CA from dissolution but since the Supreme Court stayed the government’s bid to extend the tenure of the CA by three months, the government had no option but to declare fresh CA elections. The PM said his government had the authority to hold fresh elections as per November 25 verdict of the apex court. “We explored several options but the only prudent step was to hold fresh elections,” PM Bhattarai said.
Asked how the President reacted on the Cabinet decision, the PM said he would receive the President’s acknowledgment in due course of time. He claimed that the executive powers rested with the Cabinet as per the Interim Constitution and the same Cabinet would exercise those powers and hold fresh elections for the CA. Asked if he feared the repeat of Rookmangud Katawal episode, the PM said he did not think that kind of incident would repeat. “The Interim Constitution has categorically mentioned the powers of each body and I think all the bodies would abide by the constitution,” the PM clarified.
The PM said the CA failed to frame a new constitution because the old forces and the status quoists, who did not want to move ahead of 1990 constitution, did not support a forward-looking constitution. “These political forces did not want to move ahead even an inch on federalism. Federalism was not even in their dictionary,” the PM said. He added that the UCPN-M and UDMF pressed either for 14 pradeshes as recommended by the CA’s thematic committee or 10 pradeshes as recommended by State Restructuring Commission but the old forces did not accept any of those proposals. “Neither did they forge consensus, nor did they let the unsettled issues to be put to the vote in the CA,” had the PM lamented.
The PM was of the view that the people would give two-third majority to those forces who would reflect the aspirations of the people.
The PM said his party and the government took huge risk to complete the peace process. “Those who harped on completion of the peace process before the completion of constitution draft were just making a pretext,” the PM said.
Meanwhile, UML ministers Ishwor Pokhrel and Radha Gyawali, who had boycotted Cabinet meeting because of differences over the fresh elections, later tendered their resignations. Another Minister Eknath Dhakal and Parshuram Khapung also said they objected the government proposal to hold fresh elections for a new CA.
Maoist hardliner faction has also opposed the government’s decision to hold fresh CA election, said Dev Prasad Gurung.-(With strong inputs from the Himalayan Times)