Influential leaders join the PM race, Delhi still testing waters!

nEXT prime Minister of Nepal

Nepal’s  President’s recent call to form national consensus government within seven days have pushed Nepal’s led politician into the race. This has also intensified exchanges between leaders and New Delhi.

Prachanda from the ruling Maoist, Sushil Koirala and Ram Chandra Paudel from Nepali Congress, K P Oli from CPN UML, Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ from CPN Maoist, and Bijay Kumar Gachhadar from the ruling Madheshi Morcha have escalated inter and intra party lobbying for the post.

Though UCPN Maoist has officially slammed the President’s call to form consensus government, Party chairman Prachanda seems to be interested in the run. He has lauded the President’s call and along with that his close aide in the party Krishna Mahara has publicly lauded the call.

Though the official rejection of the decision by the Maoist remains an enigma, sources in the know how have claimed that the President has advised Prachando to engage in lobbying to support his candidacy for leading the consensus government. And the source claim that it was the reason for which Prachanda appreciated the President’s call and it was the same reason for which his deputy and incumbent Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai forced the party leadership to officially protest the President’s decision.

Sources well aware of the diplomatic exchanges, claim that Prachanda has even been in discussion with the Indian establishment to support his PM candidacy.

Sensing trouble from Prachanda’s softer stance with the President, Bhattarai faction within the party have warned to launch stern agitation within and outside the party for remaining in power. Bhattarai’s close aide Devendra Paudel even termed the President’s call as an attempt to impose coup.

In Nepali Congress, Sher Bahadur Deuba has already publicly announced his withdrawal from the race and it has left Koirala and Paudel in the race. Paudel is loud and clear on his candidacy for the post which he claims is legitimate as he has been the parliamentary party leader of his party in the erstwhile legislative parliament and as he had fought Bhattarai in the earlier race for the same post.

However, Koirala’s recent desire to head the government which is now intensely fueled by his aides, seems to officially endorse Koirala for the post. The upcoming NC’s central committee meeting might endorse Koirala’s candidacy for the post as Deuba has already exited the queue and Paudel does not have sufficient majority in the committee to back him. This might leave Paudel high and dry once again.

Though UML Chairman Jhalnath Khanal has publicly requested Koirala for heading the consensus government, his deputy K P Oli has been exercising muscles for the post. While receiving treatment in New Delhi recently, Oli had also lobbied for this opportunity with the Indian establishment. However as the party is yet to take official decision on the issue, Oli’s chances are yet slim if he fails to win his Chairman’s support for the bid.

And along with these big wigs, the CPN Maoist has also joined the race with the motto of new and revolutionary leadership. They have forwarded party general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa as their candidate for the race. Party secretary Dev Gurung has publicly announced the party’s bid while eulogizing Thapa’s capacity for the leadership.

In the madhesh based party camp, with Mahant Thakur denying the post, Gachhadar has brushed up his collar for the post. Though Prachanda himself had proposed Thakur to join the race, the latter had denied it. This had left the ground solely to Gachhadar. Gachhadar has already forwarded his candidacy to the President and sources claimed that he has intensified lobbying with the Indian establishment too.

Another of the candidate that has not shown willingness for the limelight is Surya Bahadur Thapa. Though India has soft side for Thapa, Thapa himself has not shown any signs of joining the race. So his candidacy still remains in the grey region. Lets see if he gives any color to it in the remaining days. After all, anything can happen in Nepal’s troubled political sphere.

Whoever might succced in this race, one thing is sure, Bhattarai’s day at Baluwatar seem to be ending. This has become more sure now as the Indian establishment has shown willingness to end status quo in Nepal by removing Bhattarai and installing a new government. However, sources claim that though Indian establishment is against Bhattarai, its intelligence (RAW) has shown unwillingness to remove Bhattarai. This condition might also change in the days ahead as RAW has also recently got a new leader and this indicates a new stance on Bhattarai government too.