Ruling coalition in Jeopardy

Published On: February 1, 2023 11:00 AM NPT By: Tapendra Karki

KATHMANDU, Feb 1: After the CPN (Maoist Centre) decided to agree on a 'common person' for the president and not to give the Ministry of Home Affairs to the Rastriya Swatantra Party immediately, there are signs that the future of the ruling coalition is in jeopardy. Maoist Chairman and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal will take the initiative to bring a person who can be accepted by everyone and who can be supported by the Nepali Congress as much as possible for the presidency rather than the person proposed by the UML and will decide only after the publication of the full text of the Supreme Court's judgment on Rabi Lamichhane citizenship case as to who to give the Ministry of Home Affairs. There are signs that there will be turmoil in the ruling coalition. If the support is withdrawn, the government will have to take a vote of confidence. At that time, the question of what will happen to the current government has also been raised. While the Nagarik Unmukti Party, which is supporting the government, is looking for excuses, the government has been put in trouble after the split in the ruling coalition on whether or not to give the home ministry to the RSP.

On Tuesday morning, Rabi Lamchiane, chairman of RSP, met Prime Minister Dahal and asked him to give the Home Ministry to his party. He also warned that he will stay out of the government if he does not get the Ministry of Home Affairs. But Prime Minister Dahal asked to take another ministry instead of the Home Ministry and requested Lamichhane not to claim the Ministry of Home Affairs until the disputed issues such as  Lamichhane' citizenship and passport are resolved.

In the meeting of Maoist Center office-bearers held immediately after Lamichhane met the Prime Minister, the leaders opined that the RSP should not be given the Home Ministry. The same request was made in Monday's meeting. The meeting held on Tuesday made it clear that the Home Ministry will remain with the Prime Minister until the full text of the judgment is published by the Supreme Court. After the decision of the Maoist meeting, Prime Minister Dahal has not only hinted that he will not immediately give the Home Ministry to anyone, he has also indicated that the government will be run by the Prime Minister and that the Prime Minister should be able to make all the decisions regarding the running of the government. Dahal hinted that UML pressured him to give the home ministry to Lamichhane. After Tuesday's officials' meeting, Prime Minister Dahal told the media that the Ministry of Home Affairs will remain with him and that he is not in a hurry to give it to anyone for the time being, saying that this will not affect the alliance. "Because of the Ministry of Home Affairs, there is an effort to save the alliance from falling into trouble," Dahal told the media. When he said this, it was a sign of a rift between the coalition parties.

In order not to affect the alliance, UML has already requested the Prime Minister to give the Ministry of Home Affairs to RSP. On Sunday evening, UML Chairman Oli had met the Prime Minister and asked him to give the home ministry to the RSP. But the Prime Minister had waved it off. Oli is also the coordinator of the political mechanism created to run the existing government. On Tuesday, Rabi Lamichhane, chairman of RSP, also met with UML Chairman Oli and discussed whether to stay in the government. Lamichhane went to Balkot to meet Oli after the Maoists decided not to give the Home Ministry to the RSP for the time being. Oli suggested Lamichhane not leave the government immediately saying that he would talk to the Prime Minister again.

"In the current situation, if the home ministry is given to the RSP, it will be a conflict of interest and there will be more opposition, so the party's opinion is that it will not be given until the full text of the verdict is received from the Supreme Court. It does not mean that it will not be given to Rabi Lamichhane, his court process has not yet been completed," Krishna Bahadur Mahara, vice chairperson of the CPN (Maoist Center), told the media after the meeting. According to him, the home ministry will be with the Prime Minister for now.

Deputy Head of the campaign department of CPN-UML, Bishnu Rijal said that UML is of the opinion that the agreement reached between the parties on December 25 should not be violated. "We should not allow the agreement reached between the parties on December 25 to be broken. Power has been distributed based on the number of seats, the President and the Speaker, the Prime Minister. Similarly, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Deputy Speaker have been distributed. Breaking this will have a negative impact on the coalition. No one should do anything that will affect this,'' said Rizal, Deputy Head of Publicity Department. According to him, since the character or person in the presidency is determined by the party, there is no need for anyone to interfere or criticize.

Dol Prasad Aryal, the leader of the parliamentary party of the RSP in the government and Minister for Labor, said that he did not think that the Ministry of Home Affairs would go to another party because it was part of his party. "We are not thinking that the Ministry of Home Affairs will go to other parties. Other parties also have not said we will not give the Ministry. There have been discussions that all parties will proceed according to the agreement," said Labor Minister Aryal. According to him, even though Prime Minister Dahal is currently holding the portfolio of home ministry as well after Lamichhane resigned from the post of home minister on Friday, RSP is confident that the party will get the home ministry.

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