Prachanda’s controversial remark: Did UML backtrack from demand for the Prime Minister’s resignation?

First CPN-UML obstructed parliament. Then three leaders held a meeting and decided to end parliament obstruction. What transpired in the meeting is not yet known.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Top leaders from three major political parties–Nepali Congress, CPN (Maoist-Center) and opposition CPN-UML–agreed to end parliament obstruction on Sunday. 

The main opposition CPN-UML has been obstructed Nepal’s Parliament since last Wednesday demanding resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” over his recent remarks that an Indian businessman lobbied with New Delhi [the Indian establishment) and political leaders in Kathmandu to make him the premier.

During the launch of a book Roads to the Valley: The Legacy of Sardar Pritam Singh in Nepal in Kathmandu last week, Prime Minister Dahal had mentioned that once Singh made an all-out effort to make Prachanda Nepal’s Prime Minister, even by traveling to New Delhi several times for the purpose. 

Main opposition CPN-UML took strong exceptions to the PM’s remarks and demanded PM’s resignation over the matter. They obstructed house sessions–both in the House of Representatives and National Assembly–and said that the obstruction would continue unless the PM resigned.

In a rather surprising turn of events, on Sunday, top leaders of three major parties–PM Dahal, NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba, and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli–held a meeting and decided to end the ongoing parliament obstruction. Though the details of what transpired during the meeting are not yet clear, CPN-UML, according to a leader close to Prime Minister Dahal, agreed to end the parliament obstruction. 

It is, however, not clear yet whether CPN-UML actually backtracked from its demand of resignation from the Prime Minister or it was just a strategy of the ruling alliance to create a narrative of agreement. 

Leaders from UML and Nepali Congress have given conflicting views on the matter. 

Ramesh Lekhak, the chief whip of Nepali Congress has informed that an understanding has been reached to the effect of PM Prachanda answering the questions related to his controversial remarks and the UML agreeing to end the obstruction.  On the other hand, UML leader Yogesh Bhattarai has said that the House meeting was postponed for Monday on the request of the PM himself. “Maybe he [the PM] has to ask someone what to answer. I don’t know why it was postponed.”

The opposition party has a claim that the PM’s statement undermines Nepal’s dignity and its independence.

So what did the top three leaders actually agree on? Or is this another instance of dissent in public and agreement in private?

Meanwhile, chair of Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) Rabi Lamichhane has said that parliament should not be run on the whims of three leaders [Deuba, Oli and Dahal]. The Prime Minister made remarks unbecoming to his post. It is a sensitive matter. He should answer the questions raised over the controversial remarks, Lamichhane told journalists at the premises of parliament.