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Prachanda favours special relations with India

Source: PTI
June 24, 2007 18:56 IST
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Hoping to be the President of Nepal after the next elections, Maoist chief Prachanda has favoured special relations with India with the two countries having open borders and close cultural ties.

Prachanda also insisted that elections to the Constituent Assembly in Nepal be held in November or December, failing which his party would walk out of the government and launch a peaceful agitation.

Appreciating India for helping the peace process, the Maoist leader told Karan Thapar's Devil's Advocate programme
that 'there are ups and downs, twists and turns in our relations with India....(but) there is a sort of unity in interest between the two countries'.

'Delhi played a very positive role in the ongoing peace process...we want special relations with India in the sense that we have open border, close cultural and traditional ties', said the leader of CPN-Maoist, which joined mainstream
politics last year after a decade-long armed struggle.

He, however, said that his party wants equidistant relations with India and China.

Talking about his political future, 53-year-old Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, hoped that he would be the President of Nepal with executive powers as he expected his party to get majority in next election.   

The communist leader, however, said that he would not become president for life, but only for a single five-year term.

Demanding immediate abolition of monarchy as the King 'is already hatching a conspiracy', Prachanda accused Prime
Minister Girija Prasad Koirala of trying to save the monarchy.

'Koirala does not have a clear view about monarchy. He always vacillates between the question of monarchy and
republic. When I spoke to Koirala five years ago, I thought that he was trying to find artful ways to abolish monarchy but now I feel that he was trying to save the monarchy artfully', he said.

'We don't trust King Gyanendra and his feudal institution of monarchy, which should be abolished immediately', he said.

'When he (Koirala) talks about ceremonial monarchy, giving some space to the King and sometimes he talk about the
baby king, all these things proves that he was trying to save monarchy'.

Not only the Maoists, but the whole country will protest if Koirala asks Gyanendra and Crown Prince to step down in favour of Hridayendra -- Gyanendra's grandson -- Prachanda said.

'We have serious suspicions that the prime minister wants to retain monarchy and therefore he is playing with the
situation', he said.

Holding Koirala responsible for the postponement of Constituent Assembly polls slated for June, Prachanda expressed doubts whether the election would be held in November-December as agreed upon by the eight-party alliance.

Seeking removal of terrorist tag by the US on his group as it was now part of the government, he said, 'we want diplomatic relations with the US and hope that it will take steps to change the relations'.

Asked about possible dangers from the military as Army Chief Rukmangad Katuwal has close relations with the King,
Prachanda ruled out any possibility of coup, but admitted that some sections of the army may be active towards that end.

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