KATHMANDU, May 19: At a time when Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is making efforts to give his cabinet a full shape, the third front leaders of the Nepali Congress (NC) have demanded that the party immediately pull out from the government. NC is one of the key allies in the Bhattarai-led “national consensus government”.
Arguing that the party decided to join the government without duly endorsing the decision through the party Central Committee (CC), NC leaders maintained that ministers from the party should be recalled if the party is to uphold democratic values.
NC Chief Whip Laxman Ghimire argued that the party has no option other than to recall its ministers as the Bhattarai-led government has been formed on the basis of the four-point deal between the Maoists and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) - something NC had vehemently opposed. "NC has joined the government on the coat-tails of the Maoists based on personal decision of some leaders," he said.
Ghimire said NC had to lose the position of main opposition party in the parliament after joining the government. "Though the party is the second largest party in parliament, NC has been given third position in the government. The party both knowingly and unknowingly has upheld the agenda of communalism by joining the government," said Ghimire.
The Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) was recognized as the main opposition party on Thursday.
On May 5, NC sent two ministers to the Bhattarai-led cabinet. NC has been given the portfolios of defense, local development, law and general administration along with a deputy prime minister. The leaders said NC has been denied plum ministerial portfolios.
KB Gurung, Laxman Ghimire, Sunil Bhandari, Binaya Dhwoj Chand, Ambika Basnet and Gobinda Raj Joshi are among the leaders in the NC third front.
Talking to Republica, Chand said the decision to join Bhattarai-led cabinet was both theoretically and ideologically wrong. "NC is supposed to lead the government as per the agreements reached in the past. The decision to join Bhattarai-led government is totally wrong," he said.
Chand criticized the party leadership for deciding to join the government without formally endorsing the decision through the party CC meeting. "It is the decision of the NC talks team. The decision to join the government has eroded the party´s image and standing in national politics," he further said.
"NC has lost its distinct image and standing in the national politics as the party leadership has abandoned the ideals and values propounded by the founder leader BP Koirala," said Gobinda Raj Joshi.