TIKA R PRADHAN
KATHMANDU: In the wake of tremendous pressure from opposition parties and other quarters, Minister for Land Reforms and Management Pravu Sah, a prime accused in a murder case, stepped down today.
Sah, a Madhes-based UCPN-Maoist leader and a close aide of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, tendered his resignation at the PM’s Office this afternoon. Sources close to PM Bhattarai said Defence Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari, who has landed in controversy for secessionist remarks, will also put in papers by Monday.
In a press release today, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said theparty headquarters had decided to recall Sah so as to enable the parties to focus on peace and constitution-making processes instead of the resignation issue.
Sah chose to quit despite PM-headed Maoist Parliamentary Board’s conclusion that he should not resign as he is not behind the murder of Hindu Yuva Sangh Chairman Kashi Nath Tiwari. The board had decided to seek resignation of Defence Minister Bhandari for stating that no constitution can stop 22 Tarai-Madhes districts from seceding if discrimination against them continues.
During yesterday’s meeting with leaders of the ruling United Democratic Madhesi Front, Dahal had proposed sacking Minister Bhandari, only to be told that Minister Sah should also go. The meeting had then agreed to leave it to the parties concerned to decide the ministers’ fate.
Sah, who was directly elected from Rautahat-3 in Constituent Assembly elections, has also served as Law Minister.
Demanding the resignation of Ministers Sah and Bhandari, the opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, have been obstructing House proceedings since last Thursday.