Nepal PM Oli in trouble as Maoists withdraw support

Kathmandu, May 4 (IANS) The K.P. Oli government in Nepal on Wednesday teetered precariously after key ally UCPN (Maoist) decided to withdraw support and form a national unity government under its leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, with the main opposition Nepali Congress and Madhesi parties agreeing to back its move.

The Oli-led government now appears unlikely to present the budget as the government is set to be overthrown in the coming days.

The overnight political move by the Maoists brought a political storm in Kathmandu and Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN-Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal took centre-stage of politics all of a sudden.

The Maoist party is among the key parties in the nearly seven-month-old Oli government and, due to the numbers factor, the government may easily collapse if it withdraws support.

Prachanda, who served as prime minister for a brief period from August 18, 2008 to May 25, 2009, is now busy mustering political support to become the prime minister again even as Oli was busy trying to save his chair.

A meeting between the top leaders of Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties on Wednesday decided to topple the Oli government and the Madhes parties urged the NC to take the lead. However, the Nepali Congress, the largest party in parliament, has not yet officially decided on the name of the new prime minister — offering the post instead to Dahal.

The Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties look set to support the Maoist bid to topple the Oli government.

The Maoists have convened a Standing Committee meeting later on Wednesday evening to decide the future course of action.

The meeting of the NC and Madhes parties on Wednesday concluded that there was a need to oust the Oli government as it has “failed” in multiple areas, including curbing corruption, addressing the demands of Madhes parties, providing relief to the people, and expediting post-quake reconstruction works, among other things, said NC chief whip Chinkaji Shrestha.

“The NC and Madhes parties are on the same page that the Oli government has to go,” he added.

The NC has already launched a signature campaign against the government which it will use later for a no-confidence motion against the government, sources said.

The Madhes parties have assured the NC leadership that they will extend support to any alternative to the Oli government.

On the other hand, many CPN(UML) leaders were surprised at the Maoist move and have urged it not to topple the government that has been in power for seven months.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Oli has called a meeting of the ruling parties at his residence on Wednesday evening to contain the Maoist move.

On Tuesday, Oli held a dinner meeting with the top Maoist leadership to mend ties but the prime minister’s efforts appear to have gone in vain.

“We supported Oli so that he will keep national interests at the core, implement the new Constitution, bring a logical end to the peace process, and expedite the reconstruction work, but we could not make any tangible progress,” said UCPN-Maoist vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

The UCPN-Maoist party has already reached out to other small political parties to form a national unity government under its leadership.

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