Nepal PM poll: Madhesi party to play decisive role

After splitting from Nepal`s main Madhesi block, the MPRF said it wants to play a "decisive" role in PM run-off.

Kathmandu: After splitting from Nepal`s
main Madhesi block, the MPRF on Monday said it wants to play a
"decisive" role in tomorrow`s prime ministerial run-off, which
will be the parliament`s seventh attempt to elect a leader.

The Madhesi People`s Rights Forum, which has 25
lawmakers in the parliament, said it had split from the
regional block as it did not want to remain neutral and allow
the country to be held hostage to political uncertainty.

"A government should be formed in the seventh round of
election, whether it would be under the Maoists leadership or
that of the Nepali Congress, though our party is yet to decide
whom to support in the election," MPRF chief Upendra Yadav
said.

The split comes in the backdrop of reports of massive
horse trading, with the media claiming that the Maoists had
got a `war chest` of Rs 50 crore from China to lure away
smaller Madhesi parties` lawmakers.

"We will try our best to make it a decisive election.
The country should not be made hostage of political
uncertainty for a long time," Yadav said.

Yadav`s comments came as the Maoists led by Prachanda
scrambled for fresh support ahead of tomorrow`s run-off with
Nepali Congress candidate Ramchandra Poudyal.

The Maoists chief whip Bahadur Bogati said that the
party had approached four smaller Madhesi parties to vote for
a Prachanda-led government to end the two-month long stalemate
in the country.

A split in the 82-member strong Madhesi alliance
appeared imminent with the Madhesi People`s Rights Forum chief
Upendra Yadav claiming that tomorrow`s Prime Ministerial poll
"would be decisive".

According to sources, the Maoists have opened direct
talks with Madhesi splinter groups, inviting them to join a
new coalition government.

"We have asked them to abandon their neutral position
and vote for us," a top Maoist official said.

But even with the support of the 25 MPRF lawmakers,
the Maoists, whose candidate Prachanda has been getting around
240 votes, they will still fall short of the magic figure of
301 in the 601 member house.

Yadav said though his party had broken the alliance
with the Madhesi Front on the issue of electing the Prime
Minister, it will continue to work for the cause of the
Madhesi people their rights and representation.

He denied charges that his party`s decision to break
the alliance was under foreign influence, and claimed
the move to break away from the alliance was due to current
political necessity.

"It is our own decision and we took the decision to
rescue the country from being hostage of uncertainty. Our
party wanted to play a new role in this context," he said.

Though there is speculation that the MPRF might vote
in favour of the Maoists, Yadav said his party would make a
final decision only tomorrow.

CPN-Maoist is the single-largest party with 238 MPs,
while Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have 114 and 109 seats
respectively in the Constituent Assembly.

"We should think about the interest of the country and
that of the people. We differed on the issue of whether to
remain neutral or to play a decisive role," Yadav claimed.

He asserted that the Madhesi parties had no
differences as far as the issues of Madhesi people are
concerned.

Asked to comment on a leaked audio tape in which
Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara is purportedly heard
asking Rs 500 million from a Chinese official, Yadav said it
has to be verified.

"In the past also lawmakers have been horse traded,
its not a new thing," he said.

PTI

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