Kathmandu, October 11
Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala who contested election for premiership with CPN-UML Chair K P Sharma Oli today claimed that UML’s rant of unity among the major parties was meaningless as the party had breached past agreements.
He said this when Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang gave him time in the Parliament to speak about his candidacy for premiership.
“It is meaningless to talk about agreement when the CPN-UML did not support the proposal on the amendment to the constitution and was responsible for failure of the Bill on Reconstruction Authority,” he said.
UML leaders, including UML ministers in the cabinet, had opposed his proposal to register a bill to amend the constitution to incorporate the term ‘proportional’ in the right to social justice clause of the constitution and mention population as the major basis for demarcation of election constituencies.
He maintained that there was no gentlemen’s agreement to elect Oli as the new PM.
Koirala said he was vying for the post because he believed that he could better handle the challenges of the country including the unrest in the Tarai and Nepal’s deteriorating relations with India and that he was not just vying for the post out of lust for power.
“I know about my commitment, I have never done anything for power. Please don’t mistake it as greed of power,” he clarified.
Koirala said his candidacy was for restoring peace and stability and promoting democracy and development.
Referring to the ongoing agitation in the Tarai-Madhes region over provisions in the new Constitution, he said all need to be sensitive towards the issues of Tarai-Madhes and efforts were being made to resolve those issues.
“If we were a bit flexible earlier, he said, this situation would not have arisen,” he said adding the government has been held responsible for the alleged blockade at Nepal-India border. It’s not that the government is not doing anything, the government is trying to resolve it through diplomatic channels, he added.
Senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, who proposed Koirala’s candidacy, and Ramchandra Paudel, who seconded the proposal, also argued that Koirala’s candidacy was a democratic process.
NC could not win the election due to technical reason and therefore NC would play the role of a
— Ramchandra Paudel, Vice-president, Nepali Congress
Paudel went on to claim that the concept of consensus in the formation and running of government was against the traits of democracy.
UML candidate Oli reminded Koirala that there was a gentlemen’s agreement that the NC would support his bid to become the prime minister after promulgation of the constitution.
He urged Koirala to withdraw his candidacy but made it clear that even if he did not do that, he, if elected, would reach out to the NC to resolve national issues.
Oli said people were portraying him as anti-Madhesi, but he was not and was ready to resolve genuine grievances of all the people. Oli said he would prove by his action. “All those who vote for me will not have to say they made a wrong choice,” Oli said.
All the parties should remain united on national issues
— Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman, Unified CPN-Maoist
UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said his attempt to keep the unity of major parties intact failed. Kamal Thapa, Dipak Bohora, C P Mainali, Biswendra Paswan, Shivalal Thapa, Prem Bahadur Singh, Chitra Bahadur KC, Laxman Rajbanshi, Eknath Dhakal, Meghraj Nepali and Jayadev Joshi supported Oli.
After the election, prime minister elect Oli said he took his victory as responsibility, opportunity and honour. He said he would focus on implementing the constitution, reconstruction, resolution of all the problems in the country including that of Tarai-Madhes and leading the nation towards prosperity through development.
Outgoing PM Koirala said his party would help the new government maintain peace and stability in the country.
A version of this article appears in print on October 12, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.