Khanal dismisses `secret` deal to hand over power to Prachanda

PM Jhalanath Khanal dismissed reports that he had agreed to hand over power to Maoists supremo Prachanda as part of a "secret" deal.

Kathmandu: Prime Minister Jhalanath
Khanal on Sunday dismissed reports that he had agreed to hand over
power to Maoists supremo Prachanda as part of a "secret" deal,
as he underlined the need for a national consensus government
including the main opposition Nepali Congress.

"No agreement was reached with Prachanda to hand over
the government leadership to the Maoist party by May 24 in
case it would not be possible to draft the constitution within
stipulated date of May 28", Khanal told mediapersons.

60-year-old Khanal`s cabinet formation has been
delayed as the Prime Minister has failed to finalise a
power-sharing deal with the Maoists, with whose support he won
the election.

Khanal, who was elected by lawmakers after more than
seven months of stalemate and 17 attempts on February 3,
appointed three ministers on Thursday.

Addressing a function organized by journalists to
felicitate the new prime minister, Khanal said the seven-point
agreement which he had signed with Prachanda is aleady in the
process of implementation.

He, however, made it clear that he did not believe in
going word by word to implement the pact but follow the spirit
of the agreement.

The two main allies CPN-UML and the Maoists have
failed to arrive at an understanding over the distribution of
portfolios. UCPN-Maoist, the largest party in the House is
demanding important portfolios, including the home ministry.

The Maoists have decided not to join the cabinet as
their demand for the important home ministry portfolio was not

The, Maoists, have said that they will not join the
coalition unless the Prime minister fully implements the pact.

The "secret" pact includes provisions such as sharing
Prime Ministerial post between Khanal and Prachanda on
rotational basis and forming separate unit in Nepal Army after
the integration of the former Maoist combatants with the

Replying to a question, he said that this government
is not the product of the leftist polarization.

"I don`t believe in either democratic or leftist
polarization as there is a need to forge greater unity among
all democratic and republican forces to take forward the peace
process," he underlined.

Khanal said that though his party prefers to hold the
home ministry portfolio, the issue is not as important as
completing the peace process and drafting the constitution on

He said the new government will seek cooperation from
all political parties in completing the peace process and
drafting the constitution within the stipulated date.

Khanal also called on all political parties, including
the UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress, to join the government,
saying he favours a national consensus government.

"I am confident that the government will soon take
full shape", he added. Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari
said that that the government will present the budget for the
current fiscal year in Parliament on Monday.

He claimed that all major political parties, including
UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress, have assured him that they
would cooperate in getting the budget endorsed by the

"If the budget cannot be approved by February 15,
financial crisis will be created as there will be no money in
the national coffer for necessary expenditures, including
distributing salaries to government staff," he said.

The previous government had announced the budget
through an ordinance, which needs to be approved.

The political deadlock over the last seven months has
delayed the framing of a new constitution and stalled the 2006
peace process.


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