KATHMANDU, May 6: Some influential second-rung leaders of the CPN-UML see the possibility of the third-largest party joining the Baburam Bhattarai-led coalition government even though a majority of members at the party´s Central Committee (CC) meeting on Friday pressed their leaders not to do so.
Chief of the party´s Publicity Department Pradeep Gyawali, Politburo Member Surendra Pandey and another leader Bhim Rawal said the party cannot morally backtrack from an agreement to join the coalition.
The chiefs of the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) signed a deal Thursday midnight to form a national unity government that includes all the major political parties.
"The top leaders including our party chairman have already signed the deal on forming a national consensus government. How can our party backtrack from the deal?" said former home minister Rawal. He argued that two UML leaders -- Chairman Khanal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal -- had stepped down as prime ministerial in the past to pave the way for the formation of a national consensus government and the time was now ripe for forming just such a coalition government.
He argued that it was necessary for the third-largest party to join the government also because completing the task of writing and promulgating the constitution was not possible without a consensus government and without the major political parties coming together for the purpose.
Pandey sees even more possibility of the party joining the government. He also believes that the leaders cannot backtrack from the agreement because a serious moral question would then arise over the UML leadership.
Gyawali said the UML leadership faced a hard choice because they could neither backpedal from the deal nor could they ignore the voices raised at the party´s all-powerful Central Committee meeting.
"If you look from the perspective of the need of the hour, the party shouldn´t remain in isolation from the historic process of promulgating the constitution," said Gyawali. "But at the same time, our leaders can´t join the government as that would mean bypassing the strong voices raised at the CC."
The majority of those who aired their views at the CC meeting on Friday fiercely criticized the party leaders for being ready to join the government without the explicit scrapping of the four-point pact signed between the Maoists and the UDMF. The UML had strongly denounced the pact at the time of its signing.
But Rawal, who was involved in the negotions, rubbished that line of argument. "The argument holds no water because the five-point deal superceded the four-point pact," he said.
One leader said there was less possibility of UML leaders breaching the deal also because it was not just a case of the party chairman secretly signing the deal but the other leaders including former prime minister Nepal, KP Sharma Oli, Bamdev Gautam and Rawal were also present during the negotiations and at the deal signing.