Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has formally sought support of CPN (Maoist Center) in the presidential election with Prime Minister (PM) Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
Deuba reached Baluwatar along with senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel, NC Vice Presidents Purna Bahadur Khadka and Dhan Raj Gurung, General Secretary Gagan Thapa and former general secretary Krishna Sitaula Sunday evening and proposed Dahal to support NC candidate in the presidential election forgetting what happened in the past.
Dahal quit the coalition with NC and Unified Socialist on December 25, 2022 and became PM with support of CPN-UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party, RPP, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party and Nagarik Unmukti Party after Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba refused to make him PM first.
Oli had assured NC that UML will not ally with Maoist Center at any cost and would instead ally with NC to form the new government to encourage Deuba to break the agreement to make Dahal PM first.
Paudel told Setopati that NC leaders reminded Dahal how NC and Maoist Center had forged electoral alliance in the recent local, provincial and federal elections and urged to move forward as per the people’s mandate. NC leaders also pointed that the grand old party is the single largest party and requested for support of Maoist Center in the presidential election as no single party has majority in the presidential election.
“PM said that he was positive and added that he would first hold discussion inside the party,” Paudel added.
He revealed that Dahal urged Deuba to first finalize the party’s presidential candidate pointing that it would be easier to hold discussion in Maoist Center after that. He insisted that NC, however, did not talk about joining the government during Sunday’s meeting.
NC is likely to field Paudel or Sitaula as its presidential candidate. Paudel has long been lobbying with top leaders of other parties to support him in the presidential election. Deuba has also been proposing to field Paudel with party leaders pointing that he looks likely to secure more votes than other leaders. But the party has yet to formally discuss about its presidential candidate.
Dahal has been regularly holding meeting with UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli to discuss presidential election but they have yet to reach agreement.
Sources in Maoist Center claim that the party will soon take a formal decision to support Nepali Congress (NC) candidate in the presidential election concluding that making someone from the ruling coalition president cannot provide stability to politics and can put the party in a difficult situation.
Maoist leaders complain that Oli has been relentlessly putting pressure on Dahal to take decisions in Oli’s favor since then. Most of the Maoist Center leaders had spoken against voting for UML candidate in the presidential election during the party’s standing committee meeting at the end of January.
UML has been saying that the party should get the post of president as per the power-sharing agreement reached with Dahal at the time of forming the government while PM Dahal has been talking about national consensus for president since NC voted for his government during the floor test.
Dahal has been cosying up to Deuba since the floor test and Maoist sources claim that the party will take a decision to support NC candidate during the presidential election.
Some Maoist leaders feel that UML candidates like Subash Chandra Nembang and Ashta Laxmi Shakya can be accepted for president. But most of the Maoist Center leaders had spoken against voting for UML candidate in the presidential election during the party’s standing committee meeting at the end of January.
Multiple sources claim that top NC and Maoist leaders have already agreed about the presidential election and there is unanimity in NC to reach formal agreement with Maoist Center for presidential election.