Prachanda heads for Malaysia amid Nepal`s poll uncertainty

Maoist chief Prachanda is heading for Malaysia amid the political and financial crisis in Nepal following the repeated failure of Parliament to elect a new prime minister for the last three months.

Updated: Oct 01, 2010, 20:14 PM IST

Kathmandu: Maoist chief Prachanda is
heading for Malaysia amid the political and financial crisis
in Nepal following the repeated failure of Parliament to elect
a new prime minister for the last three months.

Prachanda, the chairman of the main opposition Unified
CPN-Maoist, will leave Kathmandu for Malaysia on a private
visit tomorrow.

He will attend a seminar on development issues hosted
by the Asia Public Exchange and Cooperation Foundation,
Narayankaji Shrestha, vice president of the party, said
without giving further details.

The Maoist supremo is accompanied by his party`s
foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who has been
in the media glare for being linked to a "bribery" audio tape.

In the tape, Mahara was reportedly heard asking a
Chinese official for Rs 50 crore, apparently for weaning away
Madhesi lawmakers ahead of the seventh round prime ministerial
run-off.

The Maoists, who dismissed the allegation, claimed
that it is an attempt at character assassination.

Soon after returning from Malaysia, Prachanda is
scheduled to visit China to attend the conclusion of Shanghai
Expo 2010 at the invitation of the Chinese government.

The visits takes place even as the the country is
faced with uncertainty following the failure to elect a new
prime minister, three months after Madhav Kumar Nepal quit
the top post.

Nepal has failed to pass its budget amid the failure
to put in place a new government.

Prachanda, who was in the race for the post of the
prime minister, was forced to quit on September 17 following
his failure to get majority support in Parliament seven times
in a row.

Although the purpose of the visit to Shanghai, at the
invitation of the Chinese government, is to attend the
Shanghai Expo, it is regarded here as significant due to its
crucial timing.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav is also planning to visit
Shanghai at the same time to attend the closing ceremony of
the expo.

Nepali Congress leader R C Poudyal, the sole candidate
for the post of Prime Minister, yesterday failed in his ninth
attempt in a row to garner a majority in parliament,
prolonging Nepal`s political uncertainty.

PTI