Life in Kathmandu comes to a grinding halt, people out in the street demanding republican government. More than a lakh vow to rewrite Nepal’s political hope.


Nepal’s fragile polity plunged into yet another major crisis on September 18 as four Maoist ministers (Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Dev Gurung, Hisila Yami and Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma) resigned from the interim Girija Prasad Koirala government for failing to meet their 22-point demands. The major Maoist demands included immediately declaring Nepal a “republic” and a proportional representation-based election system. After waging ‘Janayuddha (Peoples’ War)’ for 11 years, the Maoists had joined the government on April 1, 2007.

The Maoist ministers submitted their resignation to Koirala as soon as the meeting of top leaders of four major ruling allies ended in deadlock. Koirala’s “closed-door meeting” with Maoist Chairman Prachanda also failed to stop the ministers from resigning. Leaders of Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal (UML), Nepali Congress (Democratic) failed to convince the Maoists not to quit the government.

The Maoist leaders formally announced their decision to launch a country-wide agitation to declare Nepal as a republic. More than 100,000 Maoist supporters assembled at Tudikhel ground in downtown Kathmandu and vowed to rewrite Nepal’s political hope. Normal life in downtown Kathmandu came to a grinding halt as Maoist supporters marched through the streets shouting slogans against the monarchy and demanding a republican government.

At the end of the meeting, Prachanda’s associate Bhattarai said. “If our demand is not met, we see no point in staying in the government.”  Bhattarai repeated his party’s stand that the existence of monarchy was a threat to free and fair polls and so it should be scrapped before the elections through parliament. Nepal’s new constitution has a provision, inserted under pressure from the Maoists, that if two-thirds of the MPs agree, parliament can remove the king.  “We will go directly to the people,” Bhattarai said, referring to his party’s announcement that it would start a new protest programme from Tuesday that would culminate in an indefinite closure.


Koirala, who is under tremendous pressure from the international community not to defer the polls or let parliament decide King Gyanendra’s fate, reportedly urged the Maoists not to quit the cabinet when the country was passing through a critical time.

 As the first phase of agitation, the Maoists carried ‘funeral procession of monarchy’ throughout the country on September 18. They held door-to-door public awareness campaign between September 19 and 21; they will intensify rallies and campaigns between September 22 till 29 and gherao (blockade) all the District Administration Offices across the country on September 30. They have also announced general strike from October 4 till 6. According to Bhattarai, the agitation will be peaceful while the People’s Liberation Army will remain in cantonments. 

Top - Home