Maoist Centre ratchets up pressure on CPN-UMLThe governing CPN-UML, it seems, is headed for a tough time, with its key coalition partner, CPN (Maoist Centre), raising the issue of government change again—second time in a month.
The governing CPN-UML, it seems, is headed for a tough time, with its key coalition partner, CPN (Maoist Centre), raising the issue of government change again—second time in a month.
Leaders of the CPN (Maoist Centre) have said that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli should honour the “gentleman’s agreement” that he and Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had reached in the first week of May. According to the leaders, the deal had it that Oli would let Dahal take over government’s reins after the tabling of the fiscal budget.
The Oli government presented the budget for fiscal year 2016-17 at Parliament on Saturday.
“The UML should honour the agreement and back our party to form a national unity government [under Dahal’s leadership],” said Maoist Centre leader Barshaman Pun. “Our party will officially raise this issue very soon.” According to leaders of the Maoist Centre, some UML leaders’ remarks have made them doubt UML’s intention.
On Sunday, a day after the government tabled the budget, PM Oli, while briefing his party leaders, said that there was “no understanding with the Maoist leadership on changing the government”. Ruling out the possibility of government change under current circumstances, Oli had asked UML leaders not to go after rumours.
Maoist leaders claim that the UML leadership, while signing the nine-point deal, had “separately agreed” to support the third largest party to form a unity government. The nine-point agreement, however, does not make any reference to government change. “We kept quiet because we thought PM Oli would maintain political decency. But he is refusing to admit that there was even an agreement between the two parties,” said Pun.
PM Oli’s Chief Political Adviser Bishnu Rimal, however, denied that any understanding on government change was reached when the nine-point deal was signed. “PM Oli has already made it clear that these are just rumours. I don’t know about any other agreement except the nine-point deal,” said Rimal. But UML General Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai had told the Post after Oli and Dahal reached the nine-point deal on May 5 that the UML had “agreed to back Maoist to form a national unity government”. But he had not made it clear what the UML would do in case a majority government was formed.
The pressure from the Maoist Centre on the UML comes at a time when the government is battling the Nepali Congress and a bloc of agitating parties, which have been critical of the budget. The Maoists are also dissatisfied with the Oli government for not including some of its “pet programmes” in the budget.
On Monday, during a meeting between Oli and Dahal, the latter expressed his dissatisfaction at government for not incorporating his party’s recommendations like introducing pension scheme for the farmers and Rs 2 million worth of Tamakoshi hydropower shares to families of martyrs among others.