KATHMANDU, Oct 24: With the CPN (Maoist Center) on Sunday formally deciding to back the impeachment motion against CIAA chief Lokman Singh Karki, all eyes are now fixated on the Nepali Congress (NC) for its support is a must to unseat Karki from the anti-graft body.
Although the NC held deliberations on whether to impeach Karki at its CWC meetings on Thursday and Friday, the party leaders are divided over whether to back the impeachment motion sponsored by the UML and the Maoists. While CWC members like Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Gagan Thapa, Dhan Raj Gurung, Pradip Paudel and others have made a strong case to back the impeachment motion, other leaders in the NC have cautioned the party against falling prey to the "conspiracy hatched by the UML and the Maoist Center".
Until Sunday morning, the Maoist Center had not taken formal decision on whether to back the impeachment motion despite the fact that the motion was signed by a number of its lawmakers. “Our meeting today formally [Sunday] decided to back the impeachment motion. The party chairman has strongly directed all lawmakers to stand in favor of the motion in parliament,” said Maoist Center lawmaker Agni Sapkota.
As entrusted by the party's standing committee meeting on Saturday to hold discussion with NC and the UML on the impeachment motion, Dahal had held separate meetings with NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and UML Chairman K P Oli before taking the formal decision to back the motion.
While the UML and the Maoist Center have now officially decided to back the motion, pressure is mounting pressure on the NC leadership both from within and outside to support the impeachment motion. On Sunday, a group of civil society leaders including Nilamber Acharya, Prateek Pradhan, Jugal Bhurtel, Ramesh Koirala, Kedar Bhakta Mathema, Govinda Pokharel, and Geja Sharma Wagle had reached Deuba's residence to ask the NC to support impeachment motion.
According to Wagle, NC President Deuba assured them that NC will eventually stand in favor of backing the impeachment motion against Karki. “NC president has assured us that the party will take appropriate decision through its CWC and parliamentary party meetings in view of the public opinion,” he said.
The NC is scheduled to call its parliamentary party meeting after concluding the ongoing CWC meeting on Monday. Sources said Deuba is under pressure from various quarters to protect Karki from impeachment. Also, many of the party's CWC members are in favor of waiting for the apex court's verdict on Karki's sub judice case.
Meanwhile, leaders of student unions affiliated with various political parties have continued exerting pressure on their mother parties to pass the impeachment motion against Karki.
The student leaders submitted a memorandum to Deuba on Sunday, urging NC to back the impeachment motion. Receiving the memorandum at his residence at Budhanilakantha, Deuba said, “We are with you, not with Lokman. We are in favor of the rule of law. The central committee will come up with the party's official view”.
Deuba said it would not be appropriate to put forward personal opinion on the issue as his party has yet to make its view public. “The party's central committee meeting is underway,” Deuba said,
Earlier on Saturday, the student leaders had handed over a similar memorandum to UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli. Oli had told them that the parliament doesn't have a back gear, hinting that the impeachment motion against Karki will move forward.