KATHMANDU, July 25 Senior Unified CPN-Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai on Saturday made a strong pitch for directly elected chief executive, saying only directly elected chief executive was essential for stability and development of the country. Former prime minister Bhattarai, who is also the chairman of Constitutional-Political Dialogue and Consensus Committee of the Constituent Assembly, had organised an interaction where he discussed at length why Nepal is in need of a directly elected chief executive.  Addressing the interaction, Bhattarai said the Unified CPN-Maoist had decided to drop its agenda of directly elected President in the forms of governance with a note of dissent after the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML continued to stick to the existing parliamentary system. Majority of the participating experts and civil society members spoke in favour of directly elected chief executive but at the same time suggested that Nepali leaders should change their existing political culture. Ram Janam Chaudhary of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic questioned Bhattarai how he could convince his party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC leaders Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba, besides UML Chair KP Oli. Prof Lokraj Baral said he has been talking about directly elected executive head for the last seven years as nobody in Nepal wants to remain ceremonial. “Even existing President Ram Baran Yadav is not ceremonial. He has in the past directed direct leaders at times,” he said. UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said directly elected executive was necessary who can also take along all the indigenous people and other disadvantaged groups together. Dr Upendra Devkota, former FNCCI president Rabi Bhakta Shrestha, FNCCI president Pashupati Murarka, film director Ashok Sharma, actor Karishma Manandhar, leader of Social Democratic Party Pasang Sherpa, Dr Bhola Rijal, Chairman of Federation of Nepali Journalist Mahendra Bista, commentator Jhalak Subedi, Dr Sanduk Ruit and Ujjwal Thapa of Bibeksheel Nepali supported Bhattarai’s agenda of directly elected chief executive. However, NC lawmaker Ram Hari Khatiwada, Rastriya Janamorcha lawmaker Durga Poudel and MJF-Democratic leader Chaudhary said they were against the idea as that could be risky. They warned that such a system could give birth to an autocratic regime and could give rise to conflict in separation of power in a country like Nepal. Former ambassador to India and US Bhekh Bahadur Thapa opined that it would be better to improve the existing system than discarding it because ‘behaviour of leaders determines the success and failure of any system’.