Nepal PM says no foreign hand in Maoist govt's downfall
Dismissing former premier Prachanda's allegation of foreign "intervention" in Nepal's affairs, the newly-elected Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has asserted that the country's major parties had to take a stand against "unpopular" Maoists due to their "behaviour."
Describing the attempts by Prachanda to sack General Rookmangud Katawal as a "mistake," Nepal said he would take a formal decision regarding the army chief as soon as his Cabinet was finalised.
Prachanda had alleged that foreign powers, especially India, played a role in the downfall of his government and the formation of the new coalition.
However, Prime Minister Nepal denied the allegation.
"I have not seen any kind of intervention. Because of the behaviour of the Maoists all other parties had to take a stand against the Maoists. That shows how unpopular the Maoists have become," Nepal said in his first media interview after taking office on Monday.
Gen Katawal was sacked by the Prachanda-led government but the move was blocked by President Ram Baran Yadav, prompting Maoist leader to resign as prime minister.
Nepal, the CPN-UML leader, said he would take a formal decision regarding the army chief as soon as his cabinet was finalised. But he insisted Katawal was still the army chief.
"The chief of the army is Rookmangud Katawal. There should be no confusion on this issue. This is very clear," BBC quoted 56-year-old Nepal as saying.
Asked if he would accept or overturn the decision of the previous government regarding the sacking of army chief, Nepal said: "We will correct the mistake."
On Wednesday, the 22 parties, which support the CPN-UML- led government in parliament, gave Nepal the authority to reverse the previous government's decision.
But Nepal is unlikely to rush as he does not want to further alienate the Maoists.
Nepal said his government's main priorities were to write a new Constitution and complete the country's fragile peace process.
He urged the Maoists to join his administration in order to achieve those objectives.