Kingmaker Koirala used communists to dismantle Prachanda`s govt
Last Updated: Saturday, May 23, 2009, 21:24
Kathmandu, May 23: Nepali Congress party chief G P Koirala used the communists to dismantle the Maoist government led by Prachanda to effectively emerge the kingmaker as veteran CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal was elected the new Prime Minister of the country on Saturday.

Koirala had floated Nepal's name as the new Prime Minister to succeed Prachanda after the Maoist supremo quit over dispute with the President over the reinstatement of the Army chief.

The Maoists, whose nearly nine-month old government collapsed after CPN-UML withdrew support, had blocked Parliament for weeks before allowing the process for the government formation.

Former premier Koirala had earlier said that the Prachanda-led Maoist government was like a ripe mango, which will fall on its own.

I don’t have to topple the government, it will fall by itself, Koirala had said few months back and his remarks came true today.

Although the Nepali Congress with 113 seats is the second largest party in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, Koirala supported the CPN-UML's claim for the top post.

Koirala could have staked claim for the Prime Minister's post, but he avoided it in order to isolate the Maoists and teach a lesson to Prachanda, whom the former premier had blamed for breaching the politics of consensus and cooperation in the country in the aftermath of the landmark peace process.

The octogenarian leader, who has not been in the best of health over the last few months, today attended the Parliament and proposed Nepal's name for the top post. Prachanda was conspicuous by his absence in Parliament today.

In a way Koirala used the communists against the Maoists to dismantle the Maoist government led by Prachanda.

Koirala had picked Dr Ram Baran Yadav as presidential candidate last year after the Maoists decided to support Madhesi leader Ramraja Prasad Singh instead of keeping their words to back the Nepali Congress chief for the post of the head of state.

Prachanda had earlier assured Koirala that he would back him as president for his role in bringing the Maoists into the mainstream after a 2006 deal. However, Prachanda refused to support Koirala when the Maoists emerged as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly polls last year.

Analysts say it was the beginning of distrust between the two leaders.

Though Koirala, who led the popular 2006 'people's movement' that restored multiparty democracy by abolishing the unpopular 240-year-old monarchy, could not fulfill his dream of becoming the first post royal president of republic Nepal, his blessings made Dr. Yadav the head of state.

The 56-year-old CPN-UML leader Nepal, who has backing of 351 lawmakers in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, was elected unopposed with the support of a 22-party alliance. The Maoists boycotted voting. It ended weeks-long political crisis and easing the Maoists out of power after a short stint.

Nepal will replace Maoist chief Prachanda who resigned as premier on May 4 after differences with President Yadav on the issue of sacking of Gen Rukmangad Katawal.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, May 23, 2009, 21:24

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