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Prachanda blames India for Nepal's deepening political crisis

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
December 22, 2009 21:42 IST
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Nepal Maoist supremo Prachanda on Tuesday blamed India's 'naked interference' for the lingering political crisis in Nepal, as the former rebels served an ultimatum to the embattled government to resolve the deadlock by January 24 or face an indefinite general strike.

The Maoist chief, addressing a massive rally in the heart of the capital at the end of his three-day agitation, demanded the disbandment of the present coalition government and replacement with a national government, which would include the Maoists.

"Unless a national government is formed by January 24, we will be forced to impose an indefinite strike," Prachadna told thousands of his supporters.

Prachanda lashed out against India for its 'naked interference' in Nepal's internal affairs, saying he will only talk to New Delhi and not to the 'puppet' government in Nepal.

Prachanda said his party is ready to hold 'decisive talks' with the masters (India) and not the current 'puppet government' to resolve the current political deadlock in the country.

The anti-government protests is aimed to step up pressure on the government to rectify the 'unconstitutional' decision of President Ram Baran Yadav, who reinstated the then army chief Gen Rukmangad Katawal, dismissed by Prachanda in May.

The deepening political crisis has put new stresses on Nepal's reconciliation efforts after the end of the insurgency in 2006, amid fears that the already stalled peace process may be derailed.

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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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