Cong to talk to Madhes forces before decision

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Oct 10, 2015-

The ruling Nepali Congress has decided to hold a meeting with the Madhes-based parties before reaching out to the ruling CPN-UML and the main opposition UPCN (Maoist) on the prime ministerial candidate.

Not only does the party face a dilemma over picking its PM candidate unopposed, it remains indecisive whether to support a UML-led government or to sit on the opposition bench.

A meeting of senior Congress leaders held at Prime Minister Sushil Koirala’s residence in Baluwatar concluded that the party will reach out to the Maoists seeking their support for forming an NC-led government if talks between the largest party and the Madhesi groups lead to a positive outcome.

Otherwise, a senior NC leader said, the party will support the UML’s bid for premiership and garner support for a Congress leader to be appointed the President.

Still there is a chance that the NC will field its own candidate, said Minister for Physical Planning and Infrastructure Bimalendra Nidhi.

A marathon meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee on Thursday and Friday failed to reach a decision whether to field an NC candidate as the executive chief after top leaders Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel staked their claim to the post.

A majority of the CWC members advised the NC that it should continue its leadership of the government. The CWC then entrusted the three leaders to decide on the matter but a meeting coordinated by General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula with the trio failed to choose one as none relented. A UCPN (Maoist) team led by party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal reached Baluwatar for a meeting

with the NC brass and stressed the need for unity among three major parties at least for some time.

Maoist leaders said they could join a government led either by the NC or the UML. “After getting signals from Maoist leaders that they had not officially decided to support UML Chairman KP Oli, NC leaders planned talks with the Madhesi parties on Saturday,” said a Congress leader. After the meeting with the Maoist leaders, NC leaders said the two parties had common agendas such as addressing the demands of the agitating forces. But some leaders such as Sitaula, another General Secretary Prakash Man Singh, Joint General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka and senior leader Sujata Koirala have openly supported a UML-led government.

Koirala is pursuing a three-pronged strategy: to become the PM again, to become the President and to stop Deuba from becoming the PM.

Published: 10-10-2015 08:17

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