Congress ‘ready’ to back Dahal if he runs for PM

- Post Report, Kathmandu
NC leaders say they have an alternative if the left alliance fails to form a government, a Dahal-led Cabinet

Dec 29, 2017-Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have said that the party is ready to support CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as a new prime minister. If the left alliance fails to form a new government, the leaders said, the Congress party is ready to provide an alternative—to form a majority government under Dahal. 

Although the NC has not yet come out with an official position on the matter, parties are floating this alternative in the informal discussions of late. 

The NC is convening a Central Executive Committee meeting on Friday to discuss the latest political developments. It is not sure whether the issues related to government formation will be figured out in NC’s meeting. 

NC leaders, who are keeping tabs on the development inside the left alliance, said they would prepare a strategy on the government formation accordingly. The major partners of the left alliance—CPN-UML and Maoist Centre—are struggling to reach a consensus on the power-sharing deal.

“Respecting peoples’ mandate, the NC is ready to stay in the opposition. But, if the left alliance failed to form government then we are ready to do that,” said NC Central Working Committee (CWC) member Man Bahadur Biswokarma, who is close to Prime Minister and party President Sher Bahadur Deuba. “We don’t have people’s mandate to form the government, but we are ready to lend a hand to Dahal to fulfil the task.” 

Biswokarma, however, said that the NC was not “proactively” backing for a Maoist-led government. 

A few days earlier, Mahendra Yadav, another NC leader close to Deuba, had said that the party was ready to throw its weight behind Dahal for premiership. 

Yadav’s comments came days after Dahal said in public that NC President and Prime Minister Deuba had proposed him the post of prime minister. In a recent meeting between the two leaders, PM Deuba reportedly told Dahal that the NC was ready to support the Maoist party in writing to form a new government for five years. 

While the official position in the Maoist camp has been to form the government under UML Chairman KP Oli, a certain section of the Maoist Centre leaders has signalled that the party could go for the second alternative—form the government with the NC in tow. 

The NC, which is the second largest party in the House of Representatives with 63 seats, together with the Maoist Centre (53) and two Madhes-based parties—Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal (17) and Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal (16)—can attain the magical number of 138 in the 275-member House to form a new government. 

The Madhes-centric parties have been saying all along that they would support the new government on the basis of the agreement on constitution amendment. On Wednesday, senior leader of RJP-N Manish Suman said that his party was positive on supporting Dahal to form a new government.


NC executive panel meeting today



The Nepali Congress (NC) has called a Central Executive Committee meeting on Friday to deliberate on the latest political situation, cross-party disputes on the formation of National Assembly and debacle in the recently concluded House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assembly elections. 

This is the first meeting that the party is convening since the national elections in which the ruling party shrank to 23 seats out of 165 constituencies under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) category.  

The 29-member central ex-co, which functions under the party’s Central Working Committee (CWC), is mandated to take major decisions. Party’s youth leaders, in particular, have been pressing the party leadership to call a CEC meeting. The CEC gathering is expected to be followed by a working committee meeting subject to the latter’s endorsement. 

“The meeting has been called to discuss the latest political situation and other pressing issues,” said NC Office Secretary Krishna Prasad Poudel. 

The party will also discuss about the names of party candidates who represent Provincial Assemblies (PA). The Election Commission has already finalised the number of PA seats for the eligible parties. The election body has requested the parties to provide their final list of candidates. Party leaders said internal homework is 

under way to pick provincial candidates. 

The dispute over the process of National Assembly election will also feature in the meeting. The NC maintains that the ordinance forwarded by the government should be endorsed by President without delay. According to CWC member Prakash Sharan Mahat, the meeting is likely to reiterate party’s position on the ordinance. 

The meeting will delve into reports submitted by district committees regarding the intra-party betrayal in its bid to find the reasons behind its poor showing in the elections. NC leaders have pointed out intra-party betrayal in some districts as one of the factors for the worst election defeat in the party’s history. There are also murmurs inside the party that a Mahasamiti meeting could initiate the party rebuilding process. 

Published: 29-12-2017 07:36

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