CPN-MC does volte-face on quitting govt

Kathmandu, Oct 17

The CPN-Maoist Centre has decided not to withdraw support to the government and recall its ministers.

Organising a press conference at the Ministry of Home Affairs this afternoon, CPN-MC leader and Home Minister Janardan Sharma said the party ‘postponed’ its plan to exit the government after it received information from the Election Commission that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba was planning to defer the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections slated for November 26 and December 7.

Showing a copy of the draft statement, which said the party had decided to quit the government, to the press, Sharma said the party leadership was about to sign the statement when they received such information. “We joined the government to ensure successful elections, and had planned to exit for the same reason. But why do we have to quit the government if elections are being postponed,” he said.

He, however, said the party was ready to quit the government if it was assured that elections would be held on the stipulated dates.

In a meeting with CPN-MC Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal today morning, the PM had told Dahal if he did not recall his party’s ministers, they would be made ministers without portfolio.

The CPN-MC had then decided to quit the government and recall its ministers.

However, the leaders of the party received ‘secret information’ about a ‘ploy’ on the part of the government to postpone elections that had been slated for November 26 and December 7, said a CPN-MC source. Hence, the party leadership’s decision to stay put in the government.

The NC, however, said it had neither any reason nor plan to postpone elections. “The PM has time and again expressed his commitment to hold timely elections. So the party’s official position is very clear,” said NC leader Ramesh Lekhak, adding that CPN-MC’s reluctance to exit the government had proved the fact that the left alliance was guided by the idea of ‘capturing state power’ all along.

The CPN-MC has been under moral pressure to exit the government after it forged electoral alliance with the main opposition CPN-UML.

The NC has made it clear that the CPN-MC has lost moral ground to continue to be part of the government. However, the CPN-MC said the government had been formed to hold elections and that it would not run away from the responsibility.