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Maoists pledge to end 'unequal' Indo-Nepal peace treaty

By Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
March 07, 2008 21:15 IST
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The Coummunist Party of Nepal - Maoist unveiled its election manifesto for the April 10 polls on Friday. They promised to abrogate the 'unequal' 1950 Indo-Nepal peace treaty, divide the country into 11 regions based on ethnicity and raise the per capita income ten-fold.

"All unequal treaties must be abolished and new treaties must replace them," the CPN-Maoist's election manifesto states, adding that the party would scrap the unequal 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty signed between Nepal and India.

The manifesto unveiled by Maoist chairman Prachanda in Kathmandu, ahead of the Constituent Assembly elections, describe India as an expansionist force and also talks about the unequal treaties signed between Nepal and India in the past.

Prachanda said the Himalayan nation's per capita income would be increased ten-fold to US$ 3,000 per year if the party comes to power.

He also said electricity will be supplied to every household in rural areas, 10,000 MW of hydropower would be generated and 2 million tourists wooed to the Himalayan country.

"Building a prosperous, new and republican Nepal is our main goal," Prachanda said while releasing the 38-page document in the capital.

Under a federal democratic republican system, the Maoists have proposed a direct election for the post of President and electing the Prime Minister through members of Parliament.

The Maoists also expressed their commitment towards implementing the federal democratic republican system, as mentioned in the Interim Constitution, by formally abolishing the 240-year-old Shah monarchy through the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.

Prachanda also proposed dividing Nepal into 11 regions on the basis of ethnicity and Terai into three sub-regions on the basis of language.

Newa, Magarat, Tharuwan, Kirant, Tamsaling and Limbuwan will be some of the regions based on ethnicity and Terai will be divided into Bhojpur, Mithila and Awadh on the basis of language, the manifesto states.

The Maoists also aim to restructure the state under three administrative layers: centre, state and local body.

Expressing concern over the plight of thousands of youths who travel to foreign countries in search of jobs, the party aims to end the practice of sending Nepalese men to join foreign armies by ending the Gorkha Recruitment Centre. Nepalese youths deserve to be given dignified jobs within the country, the manifesto says.
"We have not changed our stand on America, whom we continue to call an imperialist power," said CPN-Maoist's second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai. "Foreign powers are trying to monopolise Nepal's abundant natural resources," the paper states.

In response to a question, Bhattarai said the Maoists would not take up arms again even if the party is defeated in the election. "We will accept the people's verdict and will not indulge in violence any more," he said.

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Shirish B Pradhan in Kathmandu
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