UML offers Maoist Chairman Dahal to lead new govt as left parties intensify dialogue for new alliance

Published On: December 15, 2022 10:30 AM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, Dec 15: While the Election Commission (EC) is preparing to submit the final report of the election to President Bidya Devi Bhandari later today, formal-informal dialogues have started between various political parties regarding the formation of the government. After the four parties of the current ruling coalition did not get the majority to form a new government, the CPN-UML, which is in the opposition camp, has also started informal discussions about forming the government.

During the informal discussion, the UML has sent a message to the CPN (Maoist Center) in the ruling alliance to keep all options open for the formation of the government even if that requires breaking the current ruling alliance. “It seems difficult for Maoist to leave the alliance. However, alternatives to leave the coalition could be discussed. That also means Dahal could be the Prime Minister. But for that, we have said that Maoist have to leave the alliance,'' said an UML senior leader, who has been having an informal conversation with the leaders of the Maoist center.

Similarly, the Maoist Center is trying to get the Prime Minister by showing the UML and sharing half-term with the Nepali Congress. The UML's understanding is that the Maoist center is increasing its 'bargaining power' with the NC by showing its meetings with various leaders. “Let them (Maoist) leave the alliance first and talk to us. There is an open discussion on all options,” said the official of UML.

The UML leaders believe that the Maoist Center is attracted towards the UML after the polarization of power was seen within the NC and the possibility of forming a government with the alliance of non-left parties. It is as if the night has gone and wisdom has grown. “Although the Maoists came to the dialogue in an informal manner, there is no atmosphere of trust at present. A reliable base will not be formed until they break the alliance,” said the UML leader.

Bishnu Rijal, UML Publicity Department Deputy Head, thinks it is normal for leaders to exchange greetings. “Exchange of greetings between leaders should be taken for granted. Meetings make relationships better. It cannot be explained that when the leaders meet, they talk about issues such as forming the government and breaking the alliance. It should not be considered a big thing. When the leaders of political parties hold meetings, it should be thought that only political issues are discussed," Rijal said.

Meanwhile, 24 days after voting in the election, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli and Maoist Center General Secretary Dev Gurung held a meeting on Tuesday. There have been many speculations about that meeting. UML leaders say that there is no reason to consider the meeting as a coincidence or accidental. According to sources, UML Secretary Raghubir Mahaseth is behind the meeting of Maoist Center General Secretary Gurung with UML Chairman Oli.

After returning from his constituency in Dhanusha, Mahaseth also met Chairman of Maoist Center Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Chairman of CPN (United Socialists) Madhav Kumar Nepal. For the past few days, Mahaseth has been holding meetings with the leaders of the Maoist center at Hotel Himalaya. Sources claim that he is meeting at the behest of Oli.

On Oli's behalf, Mahaseth has sent a message to Dahal that UML is ready to discuss all options regarding government formation. Sources claim that he has conveyed the message that UML is ready for discussions so that Dahal can be given the leadership of the government in the first half of the term. 

After General Secretary of Maoist Center Gurung reached Balkot on Tuesday night and met UML Chairman Oli, Dahal expressed his desire to lead the country after he reached Kaski on Wednesday. According to sources, with NC trying to form a non-leftist government, General Secretary Gurung also held a meeting with UML Chairman Oli and offered to cooperate in the government formation. “I went to Balkot to congratulate UML Chairman Oli on his election to the House of Representatives. However, rumors are spreading about the meeting. Nothing has been discussed as rumored,” said Gurung.

After the dissolution of the CPN, there has been no formal meeting between the leaders of the UML and the Maoist Center. UML Chairman Oli called and congratulated Dahal after the election results. Maoist leaders are in informal dialogue with UML leaders following this conversation. 

However, these formal and information meetings have not been made public. Within the UML, Vice-chairman Bishnu Paudel, Deputy General Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung and others, and within the Maoist center, Senior Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha and General Secretary Gurung are in favor of the left alliance.

According to sources, some leaders of UML and Maoist Center are trying to hold discussions between UML Chairman Oli and Maoist Chairman Dahal. Since the non-Leftists have a majority in the parliament, the NC-led government has sought the support of CK Raut and Resham Chaudhary by bringing an ordinance while the leftists have started to come closer to each other. 

After the meeting between UML Chairman Oli and Maoist Center General Secretary Gurung created a buzz in the political circle, Maoist Chairman Dahal held a meeting with the Unified Socialist Chairman Nepal on Wednesday morning. After the Unified Socialist did not clear the threshold in the proportional election of the members of the House of Representatives, discussions are underway between the two parties for possible unification.

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