KATHMANDU, Dec 21: As all eyes are on the ruling UCPN (Maoist) party´s much-awaited meeting that is to decide the party´s official position on government leadership, the very first meeting on Friday indicated that forcing Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to quit would be a tough task for party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Though opposition leaders closely involved in inter-party negotiations claim that Dahal is very much positive about ending the political deadlock, Bhattarai-camp´s projection of Nepali Congress (NC) prime ministerial candidate Sushil Koirala as anti-federalist is going to be a hard nut for Dahal to crack. Dahal would be lebelled anti-federalist if he supports Koirala´s candidacy.
According to leaders attending the meeting, Dahal clarified that he has not reached any understanding with other parties against the party´s earlier decision to stake the party´s claim to government leadership. They said while Bhattarai was aggressive during the meeting, Dahal spent most of his time clarifying that he has not taken any decision keeping Bhattarai in the dark.
"Though Dahal was not aggressive at the meeting, the picture will be clearer tomorrow," said a leader, preferring anonymity. According to Maoist leaders, there are very slim chances of the party formally deciding to give government leadership to other parties.
The party is unlikely to take a decision in Koirala´s favor.
Bhattarai´s political advisor Debendra Paudel in his Facebook comment said that Sushil Koirala cannot lead the country in a revolutionary and progressive path.
"I have reached no understanding with the opposition parties," UCPN (Maoist) Tamsaling coordinator Bishwabhatkta Dulal quoted Dahal as saying.
Addressing the meeting, Dahal also said that the misunderstandings in the party were the result of statements given by the party leaders to the media.
According to leaders, Bhattarai believes that Dahal has reached an understanding with the opposition parties. He also boycotted the party´s meeting on Wednesday.
"The newspapers have been claiming that Dahal has already reached an understanding with the opposition parties and I believe them," a leader quoted Bhattarai as saying. He also ruled out any decision in favor of giving government leadership to any of the opposition parties without conditions.
"How can we accept leadership of the government by the opposition parties without any condition? We must continue to stake claim to government leadership," another participant quoted Bhattarai as saying.
According party leaders, the party will stick to its earlier decision.
"We do not bow to the demand of Nepali Congress and UML. They will join the current government current, though for a short time," said Ram Karki, who is close to Bhattarai faction.