PM Lashes out at NC‚ UML * Terms them traditional status-quoist forces • Mocks the judiciary

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today took pains to gloss over his failures, accuse opposition parties, mock the judiciary and hit out at newly formed CPN-Maoist.

He did gloat over his achievements made in the past one year.

In his address to the nation, marking one year in office, Prime Minister Bhattarai, spared none. He was straightforward to blame the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML for the demise of the Constituent Assembly and most of government failures.

He described near completion of the peace process, economic growth, initiation of development works and austerity measures as his achievements. In what was seemingly bit quirky, the prime minister included his act of getting into the Bagmati River ‘to clean it up’ and sweeping the roads as some of his achievements.

He highlighted the road expansion drive in Kathmandu as a big feat and promised that the government would complete the task of blacktopping most of the roads that were destroyed during the campaign before Dashain. He also rode on his Mustang Max to remind that the move was a symbolic gesture of embracing the austerity culture.

He admitted to failures but blamed NC and UML, whom he termed status-quoists, compulsion of leading a coalition government and old state structures for the same.

Bhattarai said his government ended the existence of two armies in the country and brought all the Maoist cantonments, combatants and their weapons under control. “It was a huge achievement towards completing the peace process,” said Bhattarai. “Nonetheless, the Constituent Assembly could not draw up a constitution, as it met with a ‘sudden death’ due to non-cooperation from other parties.” Formation of consensus government with NC and UML included was an achievement, said Bhattarai. “But the two parties walked out of the government over the issue of extension of CA term,” said the prime minister. “Now they are accusing us of dissolving the CA,” he added.

Bhattarai lashed out at NC President Sushil Koirala and General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who was in the Bhattarai Cabinet for a brief period, for playing a dubious role over the CA term extension. He said those blaming the UCPN-M for the dissolution of the CA need to seriously retrospect.

Bhattarai avoided taking Mohan Baidhya’s name but dubbed his party a dogmatic group, which, he said, was protesting the government move to conclude the peace process.

The prime minister went circuitous to hit out at judiciary, saying a bad trend had cropped up of late to drag every government decision to the court and do as much as possible to get it stayed. “All of us need to be careful as the trend of presenting judiciary and executive as rivals is on the rise. Such tendency can weaken democracy,” said Bhattarai.

Prime Minister Bhattarai once again made it clear that he would not step down until there was consensus in a package on national issues. “I am not keen on clinging on to power, but I will not resign in a whim for such a move could invite instability and anarchy,” said Bhattarai. “Who will take the responsibility if I quit to leave everything in limbo?”

Bhattarai defends BIPPA, Iran visit

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Tuesday that the signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with India was one of the major achievements of his government. In his address to the nation, the prime minister said BIPPA with India was not a compulsion but necessity and added that those who were against it were yet to understand the geo-political situation in true sense. Projecting his earlier foreign trips, particularly to the United Nations in September and to India in October, as a huge success, PM Bhattarai said his visit to Tehran would but reinforce Nepal’s non-aligned policy. Bhattarai chose to mention his Iran visit in his address to the nation in the wake of objection from opposition parties and pressure from western countries to downplay the visit. Bhattarai is heading for Tehran on Wednesday to participate in the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit.THT

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