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Nepal power deal standoff continues

world Updated: Feb 24, 2011 02:12 IST
Utpal Parashar

Three weeks since it ‘helped’ end Nepal’s seven-month-old political stalemate, the secret-deal for power, inked by chiefs of the two ruling parties, continues to pose problems.

Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and Maoists are still engaged in a tussle over its implementation and wording leaving PM Jhalanath Khanal in a bind.

The seven-point deal with Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachaanda’ helped Khanal become prime minister on February 3.

On Tuesday, the CPN (UML) central committee approved the deal with riders on contentious issues like formation of a separate security force comprising Maoist combatants and heading the government on rotational basis. Though the Maoists welcomed the move initially, the party took a different stance on Wednesday asking CPN (UML) to take a clear stand on the Khanal-Prachanda deal and abide by its “main spirit”.
Following a meeting between the parties on Wednesday, Maoist vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha informed the party will discuss the issue and take an official stance on Thursday.

Prime Minister Khanal is facing severe criticism from some party colleagues who are opposing most points in the deal. There is also a tug-of-war between both parties over the home ministry. Maoists say Khanal had agreed to give this important ministry to them in return for supporting him to become the prime minister.