Kathmandu, Aug. 24: The CPN-Maoist, in an effort to solicit suggestions and muster support of civil society and the people for its 22-point demands that were announced a few days ago as the pre-conditions for the constituent assembly election, organised a massive interaction programme in the capital on Friday in which the Maoist leadership vowed to launch a decisive struggle to abolish monarchy and establish a democratic republic.
"We are in the historic process of holding the constituent assembly election, which is a great opportunity for the Nepalese people to shape the fate and future of the country but there are equally strong challenges and hurdles before us in accomplishing the goal of creating a new Nepal," said Maoist chairman Prachanda.
He said that the feudal elements under the patronage of monarchy are the biggest hurdle in holding free and fair constituent assembly election and abolition of monarchy and declaration of a republic was a must prior to the CA election. The Maoist supremo, however, believed that such hurdles could be easily overcome only through the united efforts of the political forces and the people.
The Maoists had earlier unveiled 22-point demands as the condition for ensuring the smooth conduct of the constituent assembly election and had announced that they would launch a movement if their demands were not met. The demands included, among others, abolition of monarchy, declaration of a republican set up, fully proportional representation election system and action against those who have been indicted by the Rayamajhi Commission.
In the interaction, leaders and members of civil society and professional groups had raised several issues relating to the CA election and current political situation. According to them, constituent assembly election must be held under any circumstance and the ongoing political and peace process must not be aborted.
There was unanimity that monarchy was the main hurdle but the speakers were divided on the modus operandi of the Maoist agitation.
Some speakers like Dr Sundar Mani Dixit, Dr. Gunanidhi Sharma, Om Gurung, Dr. Arun Sayami, Shyam Shrestha, Daman Nath Dhungana, Laxman Aryal, Kanak Dixit, Sitaram Tamang, Indrajit Rai and Navaraj Subedi supported the republican set up. However, some of them expressed reservation on some issues that Maoists have raised on the eve of the election.
Daman Nath Dhungana and Shyam Shrestha questioned whether it was the right time to raise this issue again as the seven party alliance and the Maoists had earlier agreed that the fate of the monarchy would be decided in the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.
Indra Bahadur Rai, a security expert, was a bit critical of the current security situation and YCL activities and suggested that both army and the Maoist People's Liberation Army should be mobilised during the election.
Navaraj Sudedi, a lawmaker, supported most of the 22-point demands and suggested the Maoists to be prepared to quit the government for republic.
On the issues and concerns raised by the participants, Maoist chairman Prachanda said, " Nepalese people saw a great miracle in the form of an agreement and unity between the seven parliamentary parties and revolutionary force that was established after the ten year people's war and we also thought that another miracle would be possible by holding constituent assembly election through which monarchy could be abolished and republican set up declared,"
The Maoist Chairman refuted the charges of some political parties that the CPN-Maoist was shying away from the CA elections.
"We waged the people's war to address the disparity in the Nepalese society and draft a new constitution through the CA elections," he said.
How can a party that came up with the agenda of the CA, backtrack from its own commitments?" he questioned.
Prachanda said that his party had shown maximum flexibility in signing different agreement with the coalition partners with the hope that families of nearly ten thousand CPN-Maoist militias who lost their lives in the people's war would be duly compensated by the state.
The CPN-Maoist also had strong hopes that the government would make public the whereabouts of thousands of disappeared people. "Although the government had committed that it would make public their whereabouts in 25 days, nothing concrete has been done to keep its commitment despite the elapse of 25 months.
He said his party was in support of CA that would give an outlet to all the social and political problems besetting the nation. `The current political situation indicates that the CA to be elected on Nov 22 would not address the demands and aspirations of the Nepalese at large but would fulfill the interests of a particular group which are not in support of real political change in the country," Prachanda said.
"We do not want an election which is similar to the election of the Panchayat days (Rastriya Panchayat)," he said adding, going by the present situation postponing the election by four or five months would do no harm to the nation," he added.
"We are in support of CA elections that would look into the demands of people from all cross sections of the society ? dalits, Mahesis, women, indigenous, ethnic and oppressed communities."
Prachanda also warned that his party would take a stern step if its cadres continued to be gunned down in the Terai and other parties of the country with the government turning a deaf ear to such forms of violence.
The Maoist Supremo said the CPN-Maoist had entered the peace agreement with the seven parties believing that the issues of inclusive republican democracy, compensation to the martyrs' families and the whereabouts of those disappeared in the course of the people's movement would be made public.
"But the parties took advantage of our leniency and betrayed us, so we strongly feel that we should not go to the polls without getting our demands addressed," he said adding, "We will, however, not abandon the peace process or break our understanding with the seven parties."
Substantiating the need for a fresh round of struggle, he said the recent developments have proved that monarchy and constituent assembly cannot go together, which forced us to launch a movement for a republic," the Maoist chairman said.
According to the Maoist leader, the movement was necessary to instill public enthusiasm for the election and political transformation as the euphoria and excitement that the Jana Andolan II had aroused among the people had slowly died down.
Earlier, senior Maoist leader Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, highlighting the objective of the interaction, said that his party wanted to go to the people and educate them on the recent political developments, for which the party has felt the need to solicit suggestions from the civil society.