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Unity issues

Friday, February 5th, 2010

It took a whole day for CPN-UML leaders to start bickering again. Despite a decision to put a united front on Thursday, the rift in the party displayed itself again in the CA. From Republica:

The ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) has for the second time withdrawn its official proposal for state restructuring that it earlier had registered in the Constituent Assembly (CA).

UML Secretary Bishnu Poudel, a senior party leader in the CA, said the party hasn’t registered any state restructuring model in the CA.

In a parliamentary party meeting on Saturday, the UML Chairman had instructed the party´s CA members to speak in favor of forming a high-level commission on state restructuring. But all the seven members representing UML in the restructuring committee had voted in favor of the 14-province model.

Perhaps Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal would like to hold a press conference with K.P. Oli and Jhalnath Khanal on his side to demonstrate party unity just like the Maoists did on Thursday. Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal spoke from a seat between Mohan Baidya and Baburam Bhattarai to show that the party remains united. The Kathmandu Post reports:

In a bid to allay increasing perception of serious rift in his party, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Thursday said the party leadership stands as united as ever. In a symbolic move, Dahal made the claim at a press conference held at the party headquarters in Koteshwor where he was flanked by his colleagues.

The talk of intra-party rift followed Dahal’s claim at a party briefing that India was piling up pressure to push Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai as the new prime minister. The party chairman was seen to be siding with Senior Vice Chairman and hard-line leader Mohan Baidya. Bhattarai has since presented himself as a moderate while Baidya is seen to be pushing for an immediate ‘people’s revolt’.

The High Level Political Mechanism could not meet as planned on Thursday seeing how both CPN-UML leader Jhalnath Khanal and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal were occupied with other business. Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala was left on his own, so he dropped by Baluwatar to assure Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal that HLPM was not formed to topple the government. While there, he also suggested that a separate security agency should be created to integrate the Maoist combatants. The Himalayan Times writes:

It is learnt that Koirala told the PM that the government should create a new security wing to integrate the Maoist combatants with a specific assignment. But he did not spell out what kind of security force the government should create to integrate the combatants functioning under direct control and command of the government.

Koirala told the PM combatants should be integrated in the separate security wing in proportion to the weapons stored by the Maoists in the United Nations-monitored containers.

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