Continues parleys with leaders from various parties
KATHMANDU, Nov 28: Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala has asked UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to support his candidacy for the prime minister of a consensus government.
Koirala, who has been soliciting support from various parties including those in the ruling alliance, sought Dahal´s support during a meeting with him Tuesday evening. Koirala invited Dahal to his residence at Maharajgunj for discussions on forging a national consensus.
Talking to media persons, Koirala informed that he had sought Dahal´s support for the NC´s prime ministerial candidate. He said Dahal assured him of a response after holding discussions within his party.
During the meeting, Koirala asked Dahal to support his candidacy as there was ´credible´ ground for consensus among the parties for a national consensus government under his leadership. Koirala also briefed Dahal about the assurances of support for his candidacy given by the top leaders of various parties.
Earlier in the morning, Koirala held a meeting with Chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (Democratic) Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar to seek the latter´s support also for his candidacy. Gachchhadar, who is coordinator of the ruling United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), had responded positively to Koirala.
Gachchhadar reached Koirala´s residence a day after he held a separate meeting with influential CPN-UML leader K P Sharma Oli. "Sushil Koirala is a leader known for his sacrifice and a saintly life. I will be happy if there is consensus behind his name", he told media persons after the meeting.
As part of the lobbying with leaders from various parties, Koirala also held a meeting with Chairman of National Madhes Socialist Party (NMSP) Sharat Singh Bhandari Tuesday evening. Bhandari is learnt to have supported Koirala´s candidacy.
Even as senior NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba paved the way for Koirala´s candidacy from the party, Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel continues to be dissatisfied with the Koirala bid. On Tuesday morning, Paudel reached Koirala´s residence to put his case before Koirala.
Sources close to Paudel said he asked Koirala to support him in the prime ministerial race as he was the party´s candidate for the post in the erstwhile parliament also. "Since I was made to contest the prime ministerial race in vain 17 times, I deserve to be the party´s candidate this time also", a party leader quoted Paudel as telling Koirala.
Paudel also talked to leaders close to Koirala to press his case. Sources said he called on various leaders from the Deuba faction, including Gopal Man Shrestha and Purna Bahadur Khadka, to solicit their support."He told me that he was under an injustice and asked for my support" a leader told Republica.
Deuba informs loyals he´s stepped aside
Deuba has informed leaders close him that he has decided to step aside from the prime ministerial race.
At a gathering of leaders close to him held at his residence at Budhanilakantha Tuesday afternoon, he also informed that he has pledged his support to Koirala in the race.
Koirala had reached Deuba´s residence Monday afternoon to solicit support for his candidacy. "Leaders from various parties have been suggesting that I stand as prime ministerial candidate. You have to support me now," Deuba quoted Koirala as telling him.
On the occasion, Deuba had told Koirala that he would not be a hindrance to his prime ministerial bid and asked him to forge consensus both within and outside the party, according to NC CWC member Bimalendra Nidhi.
Deuba had also asked Koirala to settle all internal rows including over the formation of party departments and a parliamentary board.
While expressing his commitment to settle the rows amicably, Koirala had asked Deuba not to make this a pre-condition for support.
During the gathering, leaders close to Deuba had asked him to first ensure that Koirala abides by the understanding. They suggested that Deuba not believe in Koirala so easily as Koirala had repeatedly flouted his commitments in the past.