The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC), that has failed to topple the government of Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli and form a new one under its leadership at the center, is making final preparations to topple CPN-UML governments in at least two provinces.
NC is preparing to topple the governments in Gandaki and Lumbini. Gandaki Chief Minister (CM) Prithvi Subba Gurung looks set to be ousted and a no-confidence motion against him is likely to be registered Thursday itself.
"We will register no-confidence motion against CM today itself. All lawmakers outside Pokhara have been summoned to Pokhara today," an NC provincial assembly member told Setopati.
NC has 15 lawmakers in the 59-strong provincial assembly. NC has put forward its parliamentary party leader Krishna Chandra Nepali as the CM candidate. "CPN (Maoist Center), Rashtriya Janamorcha and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) have already agreed to vote in support of the no-confidence motion to be brought by NC. CM Gurung cannot pass the floor test as the numbers don't seem to favor him," the NC lawmaker claimed.
UML has 27 seats, Maoist Center 12, and Janamorcha and JSP two each in the province. Independent lawmaker Rajeev Gurung (Deepak Manange), who had won the election with support of UML, is saying he will contest for the post of CM himself.
NC has called the parliamentary party meeting for 11 Thursday morning. The NC lawmaker revealed that agreement has already been reached to make Nepali the next CM but sharing of the post of ministers has yet to be agreed. "Janamorcha has said it will support the NC-led government but will not join it. Decision has to be taken about the ministries to be given to Maoist Center and JSP."
A JSP lawmaker confirmed that Maoist Center has already agreed to give the post of CM to NC and added that NC is currently holding discussion with JSP which is calling for a package deal. Both the JSP lawmakers in the province are close to Baburam Bhattarai who has been calling for ouster of Oli at the center.
Janamorcha Chairman Chitra Bahadur KC also confirmed with Setopati that the party will vote in support of the no-confidence motion against CM Gurung and added it will not join the new government. "Rashtriya Janamorcha does not pine for power and government. We are voting in support of the no-confidence motion against the provincial government as PM KP Sharma Oli, who was being supported right from the lower level, has been taking regressive steps against the Constitution on the back of that," KC elaborated.
NC is also doing homework to topple the government in Lumbini led by CM Shankar Pokharel with support of Maoist Center and JSP.
UML has 41 lawmakers in the 87-strong assembly in the province and Pokharel is struggling as even those lawmakers are sharply divided in Oli and Khanal-Nepal factions. Maoist Center has 20 seats, NC 19, JSP six and Janamorcha one.
The parties are planning to make Kul Prasad KC of Maoist Center the new CM.
"There is the option of the Maoists supporting our party in Gandaki and NC supporting others to form the new government in Lumbini. But the center has not issued any circular on what to do in the provinces," an NC leader at the center who is close to NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba said.
The leader added that the parties are focusing on toppling the provincial governments as JSP sought time to take decision to remove Oli at the center.