As Nepal enters into the phase of new government formation, adding a new twist, Chairman of CPN (Maoist Center) Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda has claimed to lead the next government.
Prachanda’s party, CPN (Maoist Center), has slipped to third position after Nepali Congress and CPN-UML. But Nepali Congress and Maoist Center contested the November 20 elections jointly under the democratic-left alliance. At a time when incumbent Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is claiming to lead the next government, the claim made by Prachanda has added a new twist to Nepali politics.
During a meeting between Deuba and Prachanda on Saturday, according to the people familiar with the developments, Prachanda has claimed to lead the next government and sought assistance from Deuba.
But Nepali Congress leaders are saying that their party will lead the new government.
“Since we are the largest party, Nepali Congress will lead the new government,” Prakash Sharan Mahat, spokesperson of Nepali Congress, said on Saturday.
The government formation process will begin from Monday after President Bidhya Devi Bhandari calls the political parties to form the joint government since no party has secured majority in the November 20 elections.
At the meeting, Prachanda reportedly told Deuba that he is keen to lead the new government and take the country to the path of progress and political stability, and ‘requested’ Deuba for his party’s and the coalition’s support.
“It is good if Nepali Congress leads the new government since it is the largest party in the house. Prachanda is also claiming to lead the new government which we have taken as natural. But leadership of Nepali Congress would be appropriate,” Mahat said after the meeting between Deuba and Prachanda.
While numerically speaking, Prachanda’s move seeking to lead the government as the third biggest party in the house of 275 is political and constitutionally untenable, it is believed that he put forward this proposal after another Communist party, CPN-UML, ventured to form the government of left leaning parties, including the Maoist and UML.
In the last elections in 2017, the UML and Maoist Center fought the polls jointly and later they united their respective parties to form a new party called Nepal Communist Party in 2018. But the party couldn’t remain united and split in March 2021.
The Maoist Centre has only 32 seats in the Parliament compared to 89 of the Nepali Congress, whereas the UML has 78 seats.
Deuba, according to some media reports, told Prachanda that he would look into the issue amicably and consult other coalition partners on the same.