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Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, December 21, 2012
Fresh differences between Nepal’s ruling Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai are prolonging the political and constitutional crisis in the country. While Prachanda wants Bhattarai to quit and make way for a ‘unity’ government comprising all parties, the latter, who happens to be the party vice-chairman, is refusing to budge.

This latest stalemate is obstructing formation of the unity government headed by another party — a step which could end the seven-month-old crisis and lead to parliamentary elections in May next year.

Opposition parties especially Nepali Congress, which is likely to head the next government, are also at loss on whether the rift is genuine or another ploy to prolong Maoists stay in power.

“Prachanda’s failure to take Bhattarai into confidence on the issue of his (Bhattarai’s) exit is causing the rift,” said Lok Raj Baral, former Nepali ambassador to India.

Since dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May, both Prachanda and Bhattarai have shifted stances several times and made fresh demands-— one reason why the crisis has prolonged.