Exercise begins to change Bagmati chief ministerCongress and Maoist Centre collect signatures to put pressure on Pandey.
Parties in the ruling coalition in Bagmati have started preparations to change the leadership of the provincial government, as per an agreement between the three ruling parties—Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist Centre) and CPN (Unified Socialist)—that chief minister would be changed after the passage of the budget.
In a bid to create pressure on Chief Minister Rajendra Pandey, who represents the CPN (Unified Socialist), representatives of the Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre have started collecting signatures of the assembly members.
“Actually we have collected signatures as a preparation to apply for the change in government. It’s not to put pressure on the chief minister,” said Yubaraj Dulal, a Provincial Assembly member of the Maoist Centre. “We need to understand that campaigning against the chief minister could only topple the government but that won’t help form a new one.”
Dulal, who is also a former minister of the provincial government, said Chief Minister Pandey is ready to hand over the helm of the government for which he will hold discussions with top leaders of the ruling coalition partners.
In October last year, three leaders had signed a written agreement—Indra Bahadur Baniya of the Congress, Salikram Jamarkattel of the Maoist Centre and Pandey of Unified Socialist—to lead the provincial government on a rotation basis, which meant Pandey would hand over the chief minister’s post to Baniya after completing half of the remaining term of the government.
Pandey, the provincial assembly’s minister of the Unified Socialist, became chief minister under the same agreement.
As per the pre-agreement, Baniya, the provincial assembly’s minister from the Nepali Congress has been pressing Chief Minister Pandey to step down. However, the three parties had agreed to take initiative to change the government’s leadership once the budget was endorsed by the Provincial Assembly.
Currently, Chief Minister Pandey has the support of 59 members of the Provincial Assembly with 23 members of the Maoist Centre, 22 of the Congress and 13 of the Unified Socialist.
According to one of the Provincial Assembly members, Pandey has refused to step down from the post as decided earlier.
“It seems that the chief minister is not going to resign so we started collecting signatures,” the member said. He also said that the process to call back the ministers and state ministers of the Congress and Maoist Centre is underway.
“Once the budget is passed today, the whole process will move forward,” he said.