NC CA members against giving up Defence

Kathmandu, August 11:

Eighteen Nepali Congress Constituent Assembly members today met party president and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and sought information regarding the ongoing effort

to form the post-election government.

NC CA member Dr Narayan Khadka said the lawmakers told the PM not to give up its demand of the defence portfolio in case the CPN-Maoist formed the government, as the latter was still running parallel government structures and had People’s Liberation Army.

“Under normal circumstances, it is okay for the CPN-Maoist to have the defence portfolio. But this is a different situation. We want the defence portfolio to maintain balanced relations between democratic forces and the Maoists,” Dr Khadka said. The PM, according to Khadka, also assured the CA members of taking into account their concern in the process of the formation of the new government.

“The PM agreed with us, saying the defence portfolio should remain with the NC, as the Maoists would side with the PLA only if it formed the government,” he added. Asked if the NC would join the Maoist-led government without the defence portfolio, Dr Khadka said, “We will think of other options. Staying in the opposition could be one.”

Another NC CA member Dr Minendra Rijal said the members, mostly elected to the CA under the direct election system, said the government should prioritise concerns of directly elected CA members. The CA members sought information from the PM about the formation of a majority government and Koirala apprised them of ongoing efforts, according to Dr Rijal.