Dahal dubs videotape scandal a ploy against peace process; claims Maoist military strength to be much higher

Organising press conference over a videotape of his lecture to PLA commanders some 16 months ago, which has caused quite an uproar in the political circle, outgoing Prime Minister and Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Wednesday said his party had three tiers of armed forces - central and regional as regular armed forces and militia that numbered well over 100,000.

Dahal said what he mentioned in the tape that real strength of the PLA was 7,000 to 8,000 was only the number of the 'central regular armed force'.

He argued that the broadcasting of the videotape, containing his speech in a different political situation, is a reactionary ploy to cover up the unconstitutional move of President Ram Baran Yadav and to jeopardise the peace process.

He also reiterated his commitment to the peace process and constitution-drafting which will transform the country into a federal republic. Claiming that some elements have been trying to push them again towards war, Dahal said under no circumstances will they end the peace deal to start violence again.

Jokingly, he thanked journalists for making the video public and claimed the publicity will, in any case, benefit his party. He also offered other video tapes of his speeches giving instruction to party cadres and combatants for attacks, killing, murder and other war propaganda.

He said India denied support for his government to uphold civilian supremacy, which should have been in real democracy, but denied that his party alleged India for interference into national affairs of Nepal. Yet he said India’s lack of support for institutionalising democratic norms have created suspicion and blamed India for breaking politics of consensus after the constituent assembly elections.

He added, "We will never tolerate any kind of interference into internal affairs of Nepal from any part of the world."

In his written statement, Dahal said his party is ready to engage in forming the new government if the president withdraws his move to reinstate Rookmangud Katawal as the Chief of Army Staff. He termed the president’s move as ‘rule of decree’.

During his half an hour press meet, Dahal, speaking in three languages – Nepali, English and Hindi – defended that government decision to oust Katawal was to ensure civilian supremacy, which he said has been stalled by ‘a kind of coup’ of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav.

He expressed hope that the current negative situation will hopefully lead to positive results.

Responding to journalists’ queries regarding the threats issued to members of other political parties in Ramechhap, Dahal said it was against the spirit and policy of his party and that concerned persons has been directed to withdraw it immediately and take action against anyone involved in issuance of such threats.

He further said integration of the army will hence be according to the terms and conditions set in the comprehensive peace agreement.

Maoists have lost right to lead govt: NC

Meanwhile, main opposition Nepali Congress, which is said to be in talks with CPN-UML and other parties to form a new coalition government sans the Maoists, has said that the Maoists have now lost the right to lead the government following the leakage of the video in which the former rebel's chairman is seen sharing his plans of establishing complete control over Nepal Army and seizing state power .

Organizing a press conference at the party's central office in Sanepa today, NC leader Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat claimed that the Maoists now have lost the ability to lead the new government following the episode. He further said that the episode has also made it necessary to review the agreements made regarding integration of Maoist PLA combatants into Nepal Army.

He also expressed outrage over yesterday's incident in Ramechhap where Maoist cadres threatened members of NC and CPN-UML to leave the district by Saturday or face 'physical action'. Courtesy:,  May 06, 2009
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