PM, FDRA stance puts deal on hold

KATHMANDU, DEC 24 -

The planned package deal among major political parties has remained on hold after UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday failed to convince Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and leaders of the Madhes-based parties on handing over government leadership to the Nepali Congress.

Cross-party negotiators from the NC said that the deal had been hampered after PM Bhattarai, firmly backed by Madhes-based parties, refused to step down. PM Bhattarai and leaders from the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA), a group of  parties supporting the present government, have taken  firm stance that government leadership cannot be handed over to NC without transforming the incumbent government into a national consensus one. Maoist Chairman Dahal on Sunday held two rounds of talks with FDRA leaders but failed to sell out his idea that the ruling coalition should be ready to hand over the government leadership to NC as the latter has “agreed on all components of the package deal.”

The FDRA meeting failed to take any concrete decision but reiterated its earlier position that first priority is transforming incumbent government into a national consensus one and second is nominating another candidate from within the coalition. In the meeting, FDRA leaders also criticised Dahal for his “soft stance” towards the NC.

NC and UML leaders said a package deal will be sealed if Dahal takes a “bold decision” bypassing PM Bhattarai and Madhes-based parties. According to them, Maoist Chairman Dahal has agreed to form an NC-led government once the incumbent government completes the election-related tasks. However, Dahal is not in a position to bypass the FDRA which was formed six months ago to consolidate his power, while negotiating with the oppossiiton parties. Given the approaching General Convention of the party and the future need for strategic alliance with the Madhes-based parties, Dahal cannot ignore the importance of his ties with both Bhattarai and the Madhesi leaders.

On Saturday, the extended office bearers’ meeting had decided that the Maoist party could hand over the government leadership to the NC provided the latter agreed to a package deal among parties, including the date of elections. But the suggestion was opposed by the Bhattarai faction of the party. 

Posted on: 2012-12-24 08:22