Kathmandu, October 5
Leaders of almost all parties today advised the three major political parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist — to keep their unity intact in government formation and abide by “the gentleman’s agreement” if they had any in the past.
Prime Minister Sushil Koirala today hinted that there was “a gentleman’s agreement” between him and CPN-UML and UCPN-M about supporting UML-led government after promulgation of the new constitution. However, he said the NC would take final decision on it only after intra-party discussions. Koirala rejected the media reports that he was unwilling to step down as PM.
The PM had called three-party meeting and the all-party meeting at his residence in the morning and afternoon separately to discuss the issues — government formation, settling the issues of agitating Madhes-based parties and the blockade on the Nepal-India border.
Hinting at “the gentleman’s agreement”, PM Koirala, after the all-party meeting, said, “It is about moving ahead together. However, how can I say anything on the issue that has not yet been discussed within the NC. I will hold discussions on it within the party.”
UCPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal clearly backed the Oli-led government and reminded the NC about “the gentleman’s agreement”. “There was a gentleman’s agreement that the post-constitution government would be led by UML leader Oli. UCPN-M will come up with official decision on it and I hope the NC will also do so,” Dahal told the all-party meeting, according to Akhanda Nepal Party member Kumar Khadka.
“I, personally, do not have any desire to continue in power as reported by media. However, the party needs to decide and I call on all to move ahead with unity after taking intra-party decisions,” PM Koirala told both meetings, according to UCPN-M leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
In response to Koirala’s statement, Oli said “I don’t need to speak about the gentleman’s agreement after Dahal spoke on it. Is it necessary for the party to decide once the party president has spoken his mind on it?”
NC leader Mahesh Acharya said the three parties discussed about moving ahead the amendment to the new constitution on the issue of proportional inclusion and making population the major basis of delineation of electoral constituencies and continue talks with agitating parties to address their concerns. UML Vice-chairperson Bidhya Bhandari said, “We decided that we would make attempts to form a unity government.”
Meanwhile, UML Spokesperson Pradip Gyanwali said the parties, including UCPN-M, Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party and Rastriya Janamorcha have expressed commitment to supporting UML-led government. “The combined strength as per the commitments received from parties is enough for formation of the UML-led government. However, we are making serious efforts to keep the NC on board as three-party unity is imperative now.”
UCPN-M’s office bearers’ meeting held this evening decided that the party would continue efforts to ensure three-party unity in government formation as well.
A version of this article appears in print on October 06, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.