PM Dahal ‘pledges support’ for NC candidate in presidential election

Published On: February 20, 2023 01:40 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 20: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has promised to the leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) to support an NC candidate in the presidential election.

PM Dahal, who is also the chairman of the CPN (Maoist Center), had a discussion with the NC leaders on Sunday evening before his party’s meeting to decide on the presidential election. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ramchandra Paudel, leader Krishna Sitaula and General Secretary Gagan Kumar Thapa had reached Baluwatar to participate in the meeting with PM Dahal.

According to a leader present in the meeting, there was a plan to hold discussions between the NC and the Maoists. Narayankaji Shrestha, Dev Gurung, Janardan Sharma and Shakti Basnet were also expected to attend the meeting from the Maoists. But only PM Dahal participated.

According to sources, during the discussion, PM Dahal not only promised the NC leaders to give the post of president to the NC, but he also informed the ruling coalition partner CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli about this.

NC leaders have also admitted that breaking the previous alliance on December 25 was a weakness and promised not to compromise under any circumstances in the agreement to be made. "In the past, one-to-one deals were agreed, so this time he wants to make an institutional agreement," said one of the leaders.

According to the leaders, there was also a discussion about the next plan CPN-UML chairperson KP Sharma Oli could take. Leaders suspect that Oli may support Madhav Kumar Nepal, chairman of CPN (Unified Socialist). Dahal had said that Madhav Nepal  was not in favor of supporting Oli. On the other hand, according to Dahal's analysis, Oli has kept the Rastriya Swatantra Party and RPP on his side.

In the meeting, the leaders agreed that they should immediately hold talks with the chairperson of CPN (Unified Socialist). A leader said, “Nepali Congress leaders have decided to talk to Madhav Nepal immediately.”

According to sources, immediate discussions are being held between the Maoists, the Nepali Congress and the Janata Samajwadi Party. An NC leader said that after the discussion held between NC leaders and Madhav Kumar Nepal, the chairman of the CPN (United Socialist), a meeting of the four parties will be held. 

Leaders say that Nepali Congress is in a hurry to reach an agreement, and Prime Minister Dahal, who is also the chairman of the Maoist Center, does not want to delay that agreement either. The Maoists have called a meeting today (Monday). In this meeting, it is said that Dahal will brief on the dialogue with UML and NC leaders. It is doubtful that a decision will be made to help NC in the presidential election as some Maoist leaders are of the view that the alliance with the UML should be kept intact.

Some say that Dr Baburam Bhattrai should be elected as the president while others have the opinion that the left alliance should be preserved by electing a person with a leftist background as the president who will be accepted even by UML. Although Dahal has already promised Nepali Congress leaders, a decision is likely to be taken sooner than later, according to one of the leaders.

According to a source, there was no agreement on who will run the government for how many years in the discussion held on Sunday evening. According to sources, there was discussion in a one-on-one conversation between PM Dahal and NC Vice President Purna Bahadur Khadka. A tentative agreement has been reached that Dahal will be the Prime Minister for the first three years and NC will lead the government for the remaining two years. However, recently the NC leaders have started saying that they are ready to give Dahal the leadership of the government for five years.

In the discussions held on Sunday evening, Nepali Congress leaders asked Prime Minister Dahal not to worry about the continuity of the government under his leadership.


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