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Koirala stoops to mollify Prachanda

world Updated: Sep 26, 2007 22:43 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times
Koirala stoops to mollify Prachanda

In a desperate attempt to appease the politically aggressive Maoists, Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Wednesday invited Communist chief Prachanda to iron out their differences.

Koirala wanted to convince Prachanda and to bring Maoists back into the government. An agreement with the Maoists is the key to holding the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections on November 22.

Sources close to Koirala told HT that the PM discussed the possibility of declaring Nepal a republic prior to the CA polls.

The Maoist withdrawal from the interim government in Nepal on September 18 was in protest against Koirala’s refusal to declare a republic and introduce a proportional electoral system in the CA elections.

Worried about the uncertain political future ahead, the octogenarian PM and his Nepali Congress on Monday said publicly that they, too, were in favour of transforming Nepal into a democratic republic.

Koirala is still hopeful that the Maoists would return to the government and take active part in the CA elections, which is crucial for Nepal’s political future.

Speaking at a programme organised by the Nepal Press Union in Kathmandu, Koirala claimed that efforts to bring the Maoists back into the government were moving ahead positively. “I am committed to hold the elections on time,” the PM, said.

Meanwhile, Koirala and his party got another jolt when former prime minister and founding member of the Nepali Congress Krishna Prasad Bhattarai on Wednesday resigned from. Bhattarai, who was given the second position in the unified Nepali Congress’s hierarchy, resigned from the party claiming that it was meaningless to transform Nepal as a federal democratic.