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Nepal PM’s secret deal with Prachanda for power to get reviewed

world Updated: Feb 08, 2011 13:32 IST
Utpal Parashar

The secret deal signed by new Nepal Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal with Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to reach the post is set for changes.

Khanal became Nepal’s 34th prime minister last week with Maoist support after inking the deal with Prachanda by keeping his party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), in the dark.

Now faced with opposition from within his party, Khanal who also heads CPN (UML) has admitted his ‘mistake’ the agreed to review some clauses of the contentious seven-point agreement.

The CPN (UML) standing committee endorsed the deal after a heated debate in the PM’s official residence late on Monday night.

“Some clauses would soon be rephrased after consultations with Maoists,” senior CPN (UML) leader Bam Dev Gautam told media persons.

The rephrased deal would allow all coalition partners to head the government on rotational basis and specify that the CPN (UML)-Maoist alliance would try and include all other parties.

Another debated point stating that the alliance would strive to draft a people’s democratic constitution would be changed to ‘federal democratic constitution’.

Earlier in the day, after keeping everyone guessing for days both Khanal and ‘Prachanda’ admitted that they had signed the deal to end the seven-month long standoff over government formation.

But Nepali Congress, the second largest party in parliament, and some Madhes-based outfits say that the deal violates the peace deal signed at the end of the civil war as well as the interim constitution.

Besides tackling criticism over the deal, Khanal is also having difficulty in announcing his cabinet as the Maoists have demanded that the important home ministry should be allotted to them.

The new PM is also under public gaze on his handling of the power crisis in Nepal that has led to 14 hours of daily power outage since Monday.

With less than three months remaining to conclude the peace process and draft the new constitution, Khanal has a tough task in his hands.