Top Maoist leader proposes withdrawal of Prachanda, Poudyal

As Nepal remained in a political deadlock, a top Maoist leader suggested that the two contenders, former rebels chief Prachanda and his Nepali Congress rival R C Poudyal, should withdraw from the prime ministerial race.

Updated: Aug 09, 2010, 21:38 PM IST

Kathmandu: As Nepal remained in a
political deadlock, a top Maoist leader on Monday suggested that
the two contenders, former rebels chief Prachanda and his
Nepali Congress rival R C Poudyal, should withdraw from the
prime ministerial race for formation of a national government.

Amid the failure of United CPN-Maoist chief Prachanda
and his Nepali Congress rival R C Poudyal to secure a
parliamentary majority on August 5, the two largest party in
the Constituent Assembly today held a key meeting, according
to the national news agency RSS.

They sought support for their candidates in the fifth
round of voting in Parliament for a new prime minister on
August 18.

Maoist Vice President Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who was
also present in the meeting, proposed three alternatives,
including the withdrawal of Prachanda and Poudyal from the
race to create the right environment for the formation of a
national government.

The three alternatives suggested by Shrestha include
the formation of a new government under Prachanda`s
leadership, holding discussions on national issues before
August 18, if the first proposal is not acceptable, and
withdrawal of both Prachanda and Poudyal for formation of a
national government.

Though they indicated a possibility of dialogue
between the two parties to forge a consensus, no concrete
agreement could be reached, said Arjun Narsingh KC, the Nepali
Congress spokesman.

Meanwhile, CPN-UML Secretary Yuvaraj Gyawali said that
his party will intensify talks with the two big parties and
stay neutral if consensus is not forged before August 18.

Last week, lawmakers failed in their fourth bid to
elect a new Premier, Prachanda and Poudyal failing to mangage
a simple majority.

55-year-old Prachanda, a former Prime Minister,
managed to bag only 213 votes while 99 members opposed his
candidature in the poll in the 601-strong Parliament.

Poudyal, 65, also failed to touch the magic figure of
301, receiving just 122 votes in favour and 245 against,
forcing Speaker Subhash Nemwang to announce the next round of
election on August 18.

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, whose two-year term
was extended by one year on May 28.

The country has been in political limbo since the June
30 resignation of Prime Minister Madhv Kumar Nepal, who is
currently heading a caretaker government.

India, which is concerned over the political
instability in the neighbouring country, sent former
ambassador to Nepal Shyam Saran to Kathmandu in a bid to
defuse the political tension gripping the country.

During his talks with top leaders, Saran made it clear
that India had no favourites and it was for political parties
in Nepal to choose a new leader.

PTI