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Dahal threatens to launch 'Jana Andolan III'.

KATHMANDU, April 26 -- Issuing a six-day ultimatum demanding formation of a national unity government, the main opposition UCPN (Maoist) on Monday threatened to go on an indefinite general strike, or "Jana Andolan III," if the demand was not met by May 1.

On May Day, the party has planned nationwide protests against "the most corrupt, incompetent, anti-people and anti-national" government in Nepal's history. The protests, the party said, will be peaceful "unless we are provoked and the state is insensitive" in its response.

With the party's top leadership in tow, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal held a 90-minute interaction with journalists where he read out a two-page statement, titled "Appeal to the General Public by the United Nepal Communist Party (Maoist)." The statement offered the genesis of the party's differences with "reactionary and status quoist forces" who are "conspiring against peace and constitution."

Both in the statement and later during the Q-and-A session, Dahal defended the party's position on the need to take to the streets to replace the current government, instead of finding a constitutional solution. "The experience of the last one year bears out the fact that normal protests and dialogue makes no effect on the puppet government run by remote control," he said. The tendency to dismiss the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) as a conspiracy, much evident while Girija Prasad Koirala was still alive, has deepened in the ruling parties after his death, Dahal added.

Monday's session was moderated by party Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai who was seated to Dahal's left while hard-line leader Mohan Baidya "Kiran" was on the right. Ten seniormost leaders, none of whom spoke to the press, were seated together in a show of solidarity.

Despite strong criticism of the government, Dahal said his party will keep its door open for dialogue and consensus, even while the strike was on. He said the protests would be urban-centric and mainly centred in the Capital. He dismissed claims that the party was providing military training to its cadre, who have recently been pictured wielding khukuris. "That's not our policy and the party has already relayed that message (to its district leaders). Asked when would the protests end, Dahal said, "It could end on May 2 itself, if there's agreement." He said that the party had no plans to seize the state power through the people's revolt, "despite the malicious propaganda."

"The general strike is not our interest but a compulsion to fulfil the historic necessity of drafting the constitution and ensuring peace in the country," he said. He said that the party cadres would not use sticks, knives or other homemade weapons during the agitation.

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Publication:Kathmandu Post (Kathmandu, Nepal)
Date:Apr 26, 2010
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