Proposal for Dahal-led govt not from NC: Nidhi

Kathmandu, May 6

Nepali Congress leader Bimalendra Nidhi, who is close to party president Sher Bahadur Deuba, has said the proposal to form Unified CPN-Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led government with support from the NC, came from Dahal himself and not from Deuba or the NC.

Speaking to a group of journalists here today, Nidhi said his party reached a conclusion that it should form a new government under its leadership and when Deuba sent Krishna Prasad Situaula to Dahal with the proposal, Dahal told Sitaula that he wanted to become the prime minister with the NC’s support.

Nidhi said he was first approached by Barshaman Pun and then by Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who told him that the UML-led coalition failed in all fronts and they could not remain part of the coalition.

Nidhi said NC agreed to form a new government under Dahal’s leadership after the UCPN-M leaders, including Dahal, told the NC leaders that it would be difficult for them to leave the UML-led coalition unless Dahal himself became the prime minister.

According to Nidhi, when the NC and the UCPN-M reached an understanding, then Dahal himself went to Deuba and sought his help to form a new government under his (Dahal’s) leadership.

Nidhi said all UCPN-M leaders  Dahal, Pun and Mahara  were seriously concerned about transitional justice issues and the possibility of UML gaining control over UCPN-M’s vote bank.

According to Nidhi, the two parties had reached an understanding to divide the remaining period of 20 months. “We were of the view that the UCPN-M should lead the government for nine months and the NC for 11 months,” Nidhi said.

He said when the message of UCPN-M Chair Dahal being ready to hand over premiership ahead of elections was conveyed to Deuba, he initially doubted Dahal’s sincerity but eventually agreed to accept the proposal.

“Matters were so cordially decided between us that we jokingly said that the gentlemen’s agreement (about the transfer of power) should be stated clearly in the agreement and it should not be like the gentlemen’s agreement between Sushil Koirala and KP Oli,” Nidhi said.

He said Dahal was pressing for finalising quickly the bilateral agreement that the two parties were supposed to reach, but the next day when Deuba went to Dahal’s residence to sign the deal, Dahal changed his mind.

Nidhi also said that the NC and the UCPN-M had reached an understanding to change the government before NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba visited India.