HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: More than half the members of the CPN-UML central committee have criticised the party leadership for reaching a five-point agreement yesterday to form a national consensus government under Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai who came to power on August 28 on a majority basis backed by the United Democratic Madhesi Front.
UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal had signed the deal on behalf of his party. Those raising dissenting voices said the five-point deal circuitously recognised the four-point deal reached between the Unified CPN-Maoist and UDMF, which the UML had then also flayed, saying it was ‘anti-national’ and it ‘compromised the national interest’.
Yesterday, the four major political forces reached the agreement under which all the ministers of the Bhattarai Cabinet tendered resignations en masse, but nonetheless PM Bhattarai remains in office to lead a unity government despite the fact that he was elected to the post on a majority basis under Article 38 (b) of the Interim Constitution.
According to UML CC member Krishna Gopal Shrestha, as many as seven CC members, including Ghanashyam Bhusal, Yogesh Bhattarai, Prakash Jwala, Khagaraj Adhikari, Bidhya Bhandari, Bhanubhakta Dhakal and Guru Baral, spoke against the five-point deal, saying that the agreement ‘recognises the four-point deal reached between the Maoists and UDMF’.
“Joining the Bhattarai-led government formed on the basis of the four-point deal is as good as giving legitimacy to the controversial deal condemned by the UML,” said Shrestha, adding: “Why did the UML leadership agree to join the Bhattarai-led majority government when party’s decision-making body had already decided not to do so?”
Shrestha said only four CC members — Mukunda Neupane, Keshav Badal, Netra Panthi and Banshidhar Mishra — backed yesterday’s five-point deal, which, they said, was a milestone on forming the national unity government.
But UML senior leader Madhav Nepal, who was one of the four architects of the five-point deal, defended the agreement, saying it had been able to ‘break the nine-month-old alliance between the Maoists and UDMF’. “There was no alternative to reach the agreement to form a national unity government so as to draft the new constitution on time,” a CC member quoted Nepal as telling the meeting.
Trash the pact: Baidhya camp
KATHMANDU: The radical faction of the UCPN-M led by senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhya on Friday condemned the five-point agreement signed by the four major political forces on Thursday night. The Baidhya faction demanded that the five-point agreement should be trashed. Issuing a joint press statement on Friday, hardline leaders Baidhya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa took serious exception to the agreement, claiming that it was a continuation of the seven-point agreement signed among the four forces earlier on November 1.