Nine Nepali Congress (NC) lawmakers from the Shekhar Koirala camp in Koshi province have announced that they will reject the ruling coalition’s decision to support Indra Angbo of CPN (Maoist Center) for chief minister of the province.
According to a source, NC lawmakers Kedar Karki, Shamsher Rai, Govinda Giri, Leela Rai, Ram Kumar Khatri, Gayananda Mandal, Indira Thapa, Man Bahadur Limbu and Sunita Gurung are unhappy with the coalition’s decision and preparing to stand against it.
“President Sher Bahadur Deuba rejected our proposal to field Kedar Karki instead of Uddhav Thapa,” an NC lawmaker said. “We will use the right granted by Article 168 (5) of the Constitution in the provincial assembly. We won’t accept the decision from above.”
Parties cannot issue whip to lawmakers if a government is formed according to Article 168 (5).
According to the lawmaker, their demand is that NC should head the new Koshi government with a leader from the Koirala camp as chief minister.
The lawmaker said that they were currently awaiting their flight at Kathmandu airport and would hold discussion with CPN-UML after arriving in Biratnagar.
UML leader and outgoing chief minister Hikmat Kumar Karki said that they were ready to hold discussion with NC if the latter approached them after taking an institutional decision.
Earlier on Thursday, a meeting of leaders of the ruling coalition held at the prime minister’s residence in Baluwatar decided to support Angbo for chief minister.
Koshi’s Province Chief Parshuram Khapung has given parties until 5 PM Friday to stake claim to the post of chief minister according to Article 168 (5) of the Constitution.
Koshi Chief Minister Hikmat Kumar Karki resigned on Saturday after it became clear that he would fail the floor test.
Karki announced his resignation in the provincial assembly meeting that was scheduled to vote on the floor test on Saturday, 29 days after Province Chief Khapung had appointed him as the chief minister according to Article 168 (3) of the Constitution.
NC has 29 seats the provincial assembly, CPN (Maoist Center) has 13, CPN (Unified Socialist) has four and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) has one seat. UML is the largest party in the 93-strong provincial assembly with 40 seats including the deputy speaker. RPP, which has remained neutral, has six seats.
If the nine disgruntled NC lawmakers from the Koirala camp stand against the coalition’s decision and UML supports them, it would have the required number of lawmakers to form a new government according to Article 168 (5).