Madhav Kumar Nepal has rejected the request of CPN-UML Secretary Bhim Acharya to help him become chief minister (CM) of Province 1.
Acharya, who has been close to Nepal for years and lost the election for UML parliamentary party leader to current CM Sher Dhan Rai, has recently changed allegiance to Chairman KP Sharma Oli and has not joined the new party for whose registration the Khanal-Nepal faction has applied with the Election Commission.
Oli offered the post of CM to Acharya like he did to Ashta Laxmi Shakya who was made Bagmati CM for abandoning the Khanal-Nepal camp. But Acharya did not accept the offer knowing well that he cannot continue as CM without support of the Khanal-Nepal faction.
The faction claims it has support of at least 15 lawmakers, which can rise to 18, even without Acharya and can easily form government with support of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center) and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) even if it has support of only eight lawmakers. The opposition alliance is preparing to make Rajendra Rai from the faction the new CM.
Personal secretary of Nepal Mohan Gautam confirmed with Setopati that Acharya visited Nepal residence in Koteshwore on Saturday but did not reveal what the two leaders talked about saying they had a one-on-one meeting.
But leaders close to Acharya claim that he felt insulted at Nepal residence this time. Nepal asked Acharya the reason for his visit at the start this time, according to a leader. "You were my leader yesterday and are even today," the leader quoted Acharya as telling Nepal.
Nepal was angry at that and replied "Don't talk about until today. I will think about after seeing your behavior if you say after today. I am well-informed about what activities you carried out against me and where in the intervening period."
Leaders in the Khanal-Nepal faction claim Acharya has slammed Nepal in different meetings and they reported Nepal about those remarks. Acharya has been aggressive in his criticism of Nepal after the latter initiated the process for registration of a new party. "He had announced that not even 10 percent people will go with Nepal. How can one help when a person who says so comes seeking help?" a lawmaker of the faction explained.
Acharya asked Nepal whether the latter trusts him, according to the lawmaker. "I can say only after seeing your behavior in the coming days," the lawmaker quoted Nepal as responding.