Maoists trying to capture state power: Koirala

Kathmandu: Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala on Friday warned that if the Maoists' bid to capture state power "by hook or by crook" succeeds in Nepal, the country would become a fertile ground for Indian Naxalites.

Speaking about the political crisis in Nepal, Sushil Koirala told PTI in an interview that it would not be in the interest of India if the Maoists succeeded in capturing state power in his country.

The Nepali Congress has been at loggerheads with the ruling Maoists over the framing of a new constitution and formation of a caretaker government with no consensus in sight for the past several months.

"The Maoists have no intention to conduct election, they are just trying to prolong their stay in power," said president of the main opposition party Nepali Congress.

The Maoists, he said, were trying to make a mockery of democracy and human rights as they want to give blanket amnesty to all responsible for abuse during the decade-long insurgency.

Nepali Congress would never allow this, he said in response to a question.

"The Maoists are neither concerned about holding new election nor framing the constitution as the ruling Communist party is aiming to capture state power by hook or by crook," charged Koirala.

"The Maoists would only convert Nepal into a fertile ground for the terrorist groups of north India. Nepal should be sensitive regarding the security concerns of both of its neighbours India and China," he said.

Koirala said Nepal's national sovereignty and democracy both were under threat but insisted he "did not want to blame any external forces for the same".

"Nepal's nationality was never so weak before," he said.

"I would not become the Prime Minister at the cost of democracy and national sovereignty," said Koirala, who is the opposition's common candidate for Prime Minister.

"Our party cannot compromise on the issue of human rights and multiparty democracy," Koirala said.

The country has been in a constitutional and political crisis since May 27 last year when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved without framing the constitution.

Political consensus remains elusive as the major parties have failed to agree on a consensus candidate to replace Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

President Ram Baran Yadav set a series of deadlines since November 29 for the warring political parties to name a consensus prime ministerial candidate but it has only led to further extensions.

The crisis further deepened after elections announced by the Prime Minister in November could not take place as political parties failed to reach a consensus on forming a national unity government.

Koirala charged that the Maoists were trying to introduce an ordinance to form a Truth and Reconciliation commission that would lead to a blanket amnesty to past abuser of rights.

The TRC Ordinance has been pending at President Dr Ram Baran Yadav's Office for months, waiting for his seal.

"This will be going against international norms, which we will never allow," Koirala said.

He said that his party has joined hands with other 15 political parties including CPN-UML and Rastriya Prajatantra Party to launch an intensified agitation starting from January 19 to remove the Bhattarai-led caretaker government.

The opposition parties have announced a 20-day agitation programme starting tomorrow, and will hold protest rallies, public meetings and sit-ins to topple the government.

"The movement would be, however, peaceful," Koirala said.

The movement will start form Dailekh district in western Nepal, where radio journalist Dekendra Thapa was killed nine years ago by Maoists cadres, and is scheduled to end with a grand protest rally in Kathmandu on February 11.

He said a national consensus government should be formed which would announce an election in April or May, only after Bhattarai steps aside.

"Nepalese people want to see new elections at the earliest, and fresh election is possible in April-May if political parties agree to forge consensus. But the Maoists are putting obstructions in the way of holding polls by offering one or the other excuses," he said.

Responding to a question, Koirala ruled out the possibility of reviving the dissolved Constituent Assembly as proposed by Maoist chairman Prachanda.

He also rejected charges that the Nepali Congress was against introducing a federal system in the country. "It is a ploy of the Maoist-Madhesi alliance to blame Nepali Congress as anti-federalism party," he said.