KATHMANDU, July 1: The present coalition has suffered further setback with a majority of the central committee members of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum- Republican (MPRF-R) on Sunday deciding to withdraw the party’s support to the Baburam Bhattarai-led government.
The third largest party in the coalition said withdrawal of their support was necessary to pave the way for forging consensus among the political parties. They also removed Raj Kishor Yadav from the post of acting chairman of the party and chose central committee member Nandan Dutt as his successor.
The party central committee members have also decided to meet Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to apprise him of their decision and ask the latter to dismiss Yadav from the post of communications minister.
“We announce the withdrawal of the party’s support to the present government from today [Sunday] and urge the prime minister to relieve Yadav of his responsibilities,” Dutta told at a press meet organized to make public the party’s decision.
The party’s move comes at a time when the government’s legitimacy has been challenged following the split in the ruling UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (Democratic).
A majority of the MPRF-R members also officially informed the Election Commission about the dismissal of Yadav from the party’s leadership. Yadav was chosen the acting chairman of the party in February after the party’s then Chairman JP Gupta was convicted of corruption charges. Gupta is currently serving a jail term.
The intra-party rift in MPRF (D) first surfaced when Yadav led party recommended the prime minister to relieve Dutt of the duties as the agriculture minister.
Altogether 12 members out of 22 supported the dismissal of Yadav from the party.
General Secretary Atmaram Sah, central members Nandan Kumar Dutta, Ganesh Yadav, Abdul Zabbar, Mohammad Khalid Siddiqui, Surita Sah, Sandhya Dev, Nanda Kishor Sah, Salma Khatun Mikrani, Sitaram Agrawal, Rajiv Jha and Umesh Lal Das were for removing Yadav from the post of party chief.
“We have dismissed our acting chairman as he had been running the party in an autocratic manner for the last five months,” said party General Secretary Sah.
But Yadav questioned the legitimacy of the decision, saying it is against the party’s statute.
“Who chaired the CC meeting when I [as acting chairman] was not present,” said Yadav, adding, “I among several other CC members were not informed about the meeting.”
Dutta, however, said the decision was taken after consulting Gupta. “Gupta has fully supported us,” said Dutta.