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Wednesday, Apr. 17, 2002 at 7:50 PM
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with massive strikes in india and italy it will be interesting to see how a nationwide strike will develop in a land with revolutionary forces
Parties unite to foil bandh
KATHMANDU, April 15:In a rare show of solidarity political parties today decided to collectively foil the five-day bandh called by the Maoists which is to begin from April 23 to 27.
The all-party meet held today at the initiation of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at his office decided to do everything to foil the bandh nationwide.
The bandh was originally slated for April 2-6, but was postponed by the rebel leadership after student groups vehemently protested.
Minister for Physical Planning and Works, Chiranjivi Wagle, talking to the press after the all-party ,said, "everyone had exactly the same views on the bandh. It has to be foiled and everyone decided to do so."
He added that opposition parties however also cautioned the government about possible security problems and urged stepped up security.
"The parties also shared the same views about negative impact of the bandh on the socio-economic areas," said Wagle. " The government has sought help from the political forces to make the people aware of the negative impacts of the bandh."
Taking part in today’s meeting held at Singha Durbar were delegates from all the political parties represented in parliament.
Rajendra Pandey of the main opposition CPN (UML) said the government requested all the political parties present in the meeting to assist in the efforts to foil the bandh, and that all parties supported the views.
Narayan Man Bijukchhe of the Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP) said that everyone should work not just short-term measures like foiling the bandh but also to find long-term solutions to the Maoist problem. "Peace through is the only long-term solution. If the government cannot do that, it should give the opposition the responsibility," he said.
Though united in foiling the bandh, opposition parties nevertheless demanded that Deuba promptly work to amend the constitution as promised while ratifying the emergency measures in February.
"The opposition parties raised the question of constitution amendment but PM Deuba remained silent on the issue," said Chitra Bahadur KC of the National People’s Front (NPF).
Other issues also cropped up during the discussions. Pashupati Shumsher Rana of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party accused the government of providing monetary relief only to Nepali Congress workers and activist hit hard by the Maoist rebellion, and not to those from other parties.
The behaviour of security forces also featured in the discussions. Bijukchhe of the NWPP urged Deuba to ensure better behaviors from the security forces. "If you only do that much, you can win all the support from the people," he said.
Bandhs are a part and parcel of Nepali politics since almost all the political parties have used the tactic against the government of the day at one time or another. However, since the Maoist-called bandh is expected to be violent, and since they are already a group branded as "terrorists" by the government, the government is taking no chances.
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