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Maoists mull no-trust motion as Nepal parliament re-convenes


Kathmandu : With Nepal’s parliament beginning its winter session from Sunday, the opposition Maoist party is planning several surprises, including a probable no-trust motion and attack on the awarding of a prestigious passport contract to an Indian company.

Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who says he should lead a new national government to promulgate the new constitution next month, told journalists Sunday that his party would bring a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Though the former guerrillas have been threatening this since the fall of their government last year, Prachanda said this time there was a good chance of the motion being supported by many MPs from the prime minister’s own party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML).

The UML has been facing a rift among its own leaders with a section reportedly asking the premier to step down to end the protracted impasse that threatens to derail the peace negotiations and prevent a new constitution from coming into effect by its deadline, May 28.

While Nepal last week categorically refused to step down till the new statute had been enforced and began meeting the smaller parties to seek their support, the Maoists are also following suit.

On Saturday, they merged with a minor communist party with two MPs, the Communist Party of Nepal (United-Subedi), bringing their strength in the 601-member house to 239.

Though they have waged a political war against the coalition government, the Maoists have been pressed hard to muster the two-thirds majority they need to topple it.

As long as the UML, the third-largest party with 109 MPs, has the support of its ally, the Nepali Congress with 113 MPs, the government remains invincible.

However, with reports of the PM’s own party men ready to abandon him, the war in the house is likely to gather steam.

Maoist deputy chief Narayan Kaji Shrestha also said his party will raise the issue of the government awarding a contract to issue new machine-readable passports to an Indian company though a parliamentary committee advised against it.

Also, the former guerrillas are now seeking a new option for their nearly 19,600 People’s Liberation Army combatants.

When the Maoists ended their 10-year civil war, the ruling parties agreed to induct the guerrilla fighters in the national army. But now the promise has run into trouble with the army resolutely opposing it.

Prachanda said the government could either provide the fighters with land so that they could earn their living, or sizeable cash or form a security force comprising entirely of Maoist combatants.