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NC-UML power dispute lingers on

- Post Report, KATHMANDU
NC-UML power dispute lingers on

Feb 14, 2014-

The Cabinet expansion process has complicated further with the reluctance of two coalition partners Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to talk and sort the differences.

There was no progress on Thursday on the dispute over which party takes the charge of Home Ministry. “No progress has been made and there is no news,” said minister without portfolio Ram Sharan Mahat.

Nepali Congress leaders expressed the possibility of a meeting with the UML before the session of the Legislature-Parliament on Friday but the plan is not concrete.

On Thursday, CPN-UML Parliamentary Party leader KP Sharma Oli declined to talk to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on the phone when the latter wanted to settle the dispute, an aide to Oli said. When Koirala’s Personnel Secretary Laxman Dhakal requested Oli to speak to the PM, Oli refused.

“Abide by the agreement reached with the UML [first]. Then we may discuss in detail,” Oli reportedly replied to Dhakal. UML insiders say Koirala’s secretariat has tried to reach out to Oli for the last three days but in vain.

With both the parties claiming the Home portfolio, the government’s plan to expand the Cabinet has been hit. During a meeting with select party lawmakers, Koirala reiterated that there had been no understanding to allot the Home Ministry to the UML. PM Koirala also told the lawmakers that he was serious about the dispute and the delay in government formation even though there was no gentleman’s agreement that the UML would lead the ministry.

After NC leaders, including the PM, spoke publicly against the idea of appointing UML Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam as deputy prime minister and home minister, UML leaders have been avoiding talks with the NC, said a UML source.

Following Oli’s refusal to talk to Koirala, the PM has been reaching out to UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, requesting them to seek a win-win 

solution. “We are busy with our party business. Holding talks with the NC makes no sense if it stands against already settled issues,” said UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel.

UML leaders charge the NC with backtracking on the agreement to allow the 

UML to lead the Home Ministry. “We cannot document all the decisions all the time because we need to settle many issues on personal understanding basis as well. If the NC violates the decision, we will make our own moves,” added Poudel.

NC leader Deep Kumar Upadhyay challenged the UML to produce evidence to establish the deal to allot the Home portfolio to the UML. 

“It could be their claim. We never consented to it,” said Upadhyay.


Published: 14-02-2014 08:47

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