Kathmandu, October 4
Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have decided to field their own candidates for the premiership of the next government.
NC’s office bearers’ meeting decided to begin groundwork for garnering support of other parties for the party’s candidate to lead the next government, while UML’s Standing Committee meeting decided name Chairman KP Sharma Oli as the party’s prime ministerial candidate.
Unified CPN-Maoist will play the kingmaker’s role, as the NC and UML will need its support to attain majority in the Parliament. UCPN-M, however, has been stressing that the three parties must not be divided on government formation, said UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
The UCPN-M is ready to support Oli-led government if the NC supported the same. However, it has not decided what to do if both NC and UML claimed the PM’s post.
NC spokesperson Dilendra Prasad Badu told THT that the UML had deviated from the spirit of past “gentlemen agreements” and public commitments. “NC has yet to decide who will be the party’s prime ministerial candidate. It will be decided after further consultations,” said Badu.
Three top leaders of the NC – Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ramchandra Paudel – have begun lobbying within the party to secure support for their candidature, according to sources close to the three leaders.
“There were gentlemen agreements between NC and UML in to support each other not only in government formation but also in settling the issues of new constitution and reconstruction of the damaged structures during the April 25 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks,” said Badu.
However, at Cabinet meeting the UML rejected the NC’s proposal to move ahead constitution amendment bill as promised by the three parties publicly to address the concerns of agitating Madhesi and indigenous communities and did not support the bill related to reconstruction authority, Badu said. “Also the UML is acting as if there is no need to address the concerns of agitating Madhesi and indigenous parties.
After sensing that the country would see another conflict if the UML is given the government leadership, the NC decided to bid for government leadership,” Badu said.
Asked whether UCPN-M would support NC to attain majority, as the party had been backing the UML of late, Badu said, “We believe the UCPN-M would not let the country be dragged towards another conflict by supporting the UML.”
The SC meeting of the UML formed a five-member task force led by Oli to garner support for Oli as new PM, according to a statement issued by party Secretary Pradip Gyanwali. The task force includes senior leaders Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal and vice-chairpersons Bamdev Gautam and Bidhya Bhandari.
NC leader Ramchandra Paudel, however, said, “We will make the party’s opinion about government formation after holding consultations with the parties in the Parliament.” Asked about the “gentlemen agreement” to support Oli as new PM, Paudel said, “I don’t know about it.”
UCPN-M Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal said at a programme today that his party would not stake claim for the post of President, prime minister or any position in the government.
Meanwhile, CA Chairman Subas Chandra Nembang said the country would get a new PM by October 11.
A version of this article appears in print on October 05, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.