NC decision on contesting PM post today

Kathmandu, October 8

Three top leaders of Nepali Congress – party president and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and the party’s vice president Ramchandra Paudel — today expressed their desire to challenge CPN-UML Chair KP Sharma Oli for prime ministerial post.

The NC will, however, take a decision in tomorrow’s Central Working Committee meeting whether to field a candidate for the PM’s post or not.

A majority of members of the party at today’s CWC meeting held at PM Koirala’s residence opined that the party should try to form NC-led government.

Koirala, Deuba and Paudel held separate meetings first and then the party’s office bearers held another meeting before the CWC meeting began. In the two previous meetings, the three leaders expressed their desire to be the next PM, according to sources.

On the “gentleman’s agreement” to support Oli as prime minister, PM Koirala opened the floor of the CWC to discuss the issue and take a decision. “Only my decision is not sufficient to honour the gentleman’s agreement, as the party should take official decision,” Koirala told the meeting, according to CWC member Gyanendra Bahadur Karki.

Supporters of Deuba urged Koirala to clear the way for new leadership in the government from the party. PM Koirala’s supporters said the CWC should decide the prime ministerial candidate, while Deuba’s supporters pressed for taking the decision through the Parliamentary Party.

Paudel said he should be given a chance to lead the government. “I am against a consensus government, as it is not a good democratic practice. NC should lead the government on majority basis with the support of maximum parties,” Paudel told the meeting, according to sources.

“I suggested that the party should try to form an NC-led government. If that doesn’t happen, the three top leaders should take an appropriate decision,” said Nabindra Raj Joshi, who also backed Paudel.

Almost all of the 56 speakers urged the party leadership to try to form an NC-led government.

Some senior leaders, including general secretaries Prakash Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Joint General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka and CWC members Mahesh Acharya and Sujata Koirala told the CWC meeting that the NC should either justify the need of its leadership in the next government or should support Oli to implement the new constitution with national unity.

Shekhar Koirala said the party should field its candidate for premiership and should be ready to sit in the opposition if its candidate lost.

Arjun Narsingh KC and Minendra Rijal also opined that the party should field its candidate for the PM’s election.

Voting on October 11

KATHMANDU: The Parliament is preparing to conduct voting for prime ministerial election on October 11, as one-week given to parties by President Ram Baran Yadav to furnish a consensual prime ministerial candidate ended on Thursday without any progress. “After the Parliament receives President’s letter to proceed with the majority course on Friday morning, the Parliament meeting scheduled for 1:00pm will fix the date for prime ministerial election for October 11 and will depute Secretary General of the Parliament Secretariat Manohar Prasad Bhattarai as the election officer. He will publish the election programme accordingly,” Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang told THT. The country will get a new prime minister on October 11 itself, as the concerned rules are clear that in case no candidate garners majority in the first round of voting, the second round of voting will elect the PM on the same day, according to him.