Friday, July 29, 2011

Maoists for bold move if ministers not inducted Saturday

KATHMANDU, July 30: Major coalition partner UCPN (Maoist) has threatened to take a bold decision with regard to the continuity of the present coalition led by the CPN-UML if Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal fails to administer oath of office and secrecy to minister-nominees from the Maoist party by Saturday.

Maoist leaders came to this stance during a party office bearers´ meeting held at party headquarters, Parisdanda on Friday.

"The standing committee meeting tomorrow (Saturday) will take a bold decision to this effect if the prime minister does not induct new ministers from our party by tomorrow morning," Maoist Secretary CP Gajurel told Republica. Asked what that decision could be, he said, "We are pondering various options and will disclose it only after the party takes a decision on the matter."

However, Surya Thapa, the prime minister´s press advisor, ruled out any possibility of administering oath to the Maoist minister-nominees by Saturday as the prime minister would remain busy at a function in Baglung district.

Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha informed that the Maoist office bearers´ meeting also concluded that the prime minister´s delay in reshuffling the cabinet amounted to disregard for the Maoist party that had played a key role in electing Khanal as prime minister. "This is unbecoming of behavior toward the largest coalition partner," Shrestha told Republica.

The prime minister´s aides at Baluwater, however, said that although the government was formed with Maoist support, the coalition was also equally responsible toward the five-point deal reached among the major parties ahead of extending the CA term. "It is true that this is a Maoist-backed coalition but no party can deny the relevance of the five-point deal either. The prime minister is trying to strike a right balance between all sides," Thapa told Republica.

Gajurel said the Maoists have restrained themselves with a view to giving continuity to the coalition but they couldn´t wait any longer. "We waited long as the prime minister told us that he respected our concerns. But enough is enough and now we can´t wait any longer," he said.

According to Gajurel, the Maoists have lately started to smell a rat in the delay over oath-taking ceremony. Maoist leaders believed that though Khanal personally would prefer not to delay matters, he wasn´t able to overcome pressure from other leaders within and outside the UML. "The prime minister is under pressure from some UML and Nepali Congress leaders who never wanted to see Maoist leaders´ play an effective role in the government," he said explaining possible reasons behind the delay in cabinet reshuffle. "Khanal had committed himself to reshuffling the cabinet latest by today. We still doubt whether he can since he has frequently failed to take bold decisions in the past."

According to Baluwatar sources, the prime minister was also reluctant to immediately reshuffle the cabinet because of the number of ministers recommended by the Maoist party. "If all the nominees are inducted into the cabinet, it will set a record for the largest cabinet, which the prime minister doesn´t want at any cost," said a leader close to Khanal.

Published on 2011-07-30 00:00:01

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