Nepal: Prime Minister Bhattarai plans to return liberated lands to feudal landlords

 Baidya faction demands PM’s resignation

by POST B BASNET, Republica

KATHMANDU, Feb 10: The Maoist radical faction has demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai over the cabinet decision on Thursday to ditch the plan to legalize land transactions effected under the arbitration of the then CPN (Maoist) during the conflict period.

The party radicals led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya took strong exception to the cabinet decision during a meeting of the party Standing Committee on Thursday afternoon, and demanded that the prime minister step down.

“The latest cabinet decision amounts to surrender to feudalism. So the prime minister should immediately resign,” said party Secretary CP Gajurel, who is from the Baidya faction.

According to party leaders, Baidya stated at the meeting that the cabinet decision was a “grave violation” of the party´s fundamental principles. He proposed the name of General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa as the prime minister of a national consensus government.

But Maoist leaders including Dinanath Sharma defended Thursday´s cabinet decision. “They were also present at Wednesday´s Gokarna talks and approved the inter-party agreements. But they unexpectedly opposed the cabinet decision at today´s Standing Committee meeting,” Sharma told Republica.

Sharma stated at the meeting that he was not against the idea of forming a national consensus government, but added that all the parties had better focus on completion of the peace and constitution drafting process.

“Moreover, a national consensus government will not be formed simply through our decision. Other parties should also agree to the idea and on a candidate to lead the consensus government,” one leader quoted Sharma as saying.

Bhattarai under attack at Maoist PP meet

At a meeting with parliamentary party leaders on Thursday, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was severely criticized for withdrawing the land transactions decision, and his resignation demanded.

Some leaders close to Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the prime minister that they would padlock the land revenue offices in remote districts including Rukum, Rolpa, Jajarkot and Salyan, which were the Maoist base area during the conflict period.

“If we go on ditching everything like this, what will happen to the achievements of the people´s war?” a lawmaker quoted Janardan Sharma as saying. He said people in the base area will lock up the land revenue offices and let them open only if the government makes alternative arrangements within seven days as it promised.

Leaders from the Baidya faction including Pampha Bhusal and Narayan Sharma criticized Bhattarai and left the meeting hall.

Bhattarai had told the lawmakers that he was compelled to take a new decision to let parliament resume normal business.

Meanwhile, Dahal told the meeting that his party has begun negotiations with other parties on forming a national consensus government. “All the factions of the party will be inducted into the soon-to-be formed consensus government,” a leader quoted Dahal as saying.

On the cabinet decision on conflict-era land transactions, Dahal had stated that it was not the party´s decision to legalize the transactions nor had the party taken any decision to revoke it. “But it is a mistake to withdraw the decision,” said a leader quoting Dahal.

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