Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal’s ‘fierce’ ex-guerrilla chief Returns as New PM of Nepal

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Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal's 'fierce' ex-guerrilla chief Returns as New PM of Nepal

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal’s ‘fierce’ ex-guerrilla chief Returns as New PM of Nepal

By Sanjay Maurya

Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the head of the legislative branch of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), was nominated prime minister of the Himalayan nation on Sunday by Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. The President’s Office in Sital Nivas informed the public that Mr. Dahal, well known as “Prachanda,” would take the oath of office as Prime Minister on Monday at 4 p.m.

In a bold move for a post-election alliance on Sunday, seven parties and three Independent MPs, led by former prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli of the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), proposed the name of Mr. Dahal as the prime ministerial candidate of the Left-dominant coalition.

169 elected members of the Pratinidhi Sabha, the Lower House, have pledged their support to Mr. Dahal and his CPN (Maoist Centre), including representatives of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist), the Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP) led by Ravi Lamichhane, the Nagarik Unmukti Party, the pro-monarchy Rashtriya Prajatantra Party, the Janata Samajwadi Party of Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav and the Janamat Party of former secessionist leader C.K. Raut.

The 68-year-old “Prachanda” met KP Sharma Oli, the party’s president and a former prime minister of Nepal, earlier in the day after a meeting of the ruling coalition held to reach an agreement on the formation of the government. He demanded to be made prime minister, but neither the president of the Nepali Congress nor Prachanda’s predecessor complied with his request. When Prachanda left the five-party coalition formed by the Nepali Congress, the government was overthrown.

According to sources, Prachanda had proposed becoming the new Prime Minister to the President’s Office. According to reports, he was accompanied by K P Sharma Oli, the chairman of the CPN-UML, Ravi Lamichhane, the president of the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Rajendra Lingden, and other prominent figures.

Sources claim that Prachanda and Oli agreed to lead the government in a rotating fashion earlier in the day. According to reports, Oli gave in to Prachanda’s insistence that he be made prime minister first on Sunday. 165 members of the House of Representatives support Prachanda’s claim to the position of prime minister. His allies include the CPN-UML, which has 78 MPs, the CPN-MC, which has 32, the RSP, which has 20, the RPP, which has 14, the Janamat, which has 6, and the Nagarik Unmukti Party, which has 3.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Mr. Dahal and stated, “The special relationship between India and Nepal is founded on deep cultural connections and genuine people-to-people relationships. I’m excited to collaborate with you to further solidify our friendship.

The RSP, one of the main players in the Leftist coalition, has criticised India for erecting an embankment along the Mahakali river near Dharchula, which has sparked complaints from Nepalese residents on the other side. Officials, however, assured New Delhi would closely monitor the progress.

The former Maoist rebel commander will serve as the country of the Himalayas’ prime minister for the third time in his career. A political issue involving the balance of power forced him to resign from his position in 2008–2009. Following a Madhesi agitators’ economic blockade of Nepal in 2015–16, he replaced Mr. Oli in his second term in office in 2016.

One of the unexpected events on Sunday was the choice made by the newly formed RSP, which is led by former TV anchor Mr. Lamicchane. Based on the party’s campaign platform, which called for a “clean, anti-establishment” party, some people had assumed the party would remain in the opposition for the time being.

When asked about the change, RSP Central Committee member Arnico Panday responded to The Hindu, “The RSP got the votes by promising to get things done: improving rule of law, reducing corruption, improving government services, providing access to high quality healthcare and education for all, creating jobs, etc.” “Sitting in the Opposition will not help us accomplish those. In order to determine the best method to advance our goal, we have been speaking with all parties. The best opportunity was given to us by the new coalition.

The RSP, which currently holds 20 seats in the 275-member Pratinidhi Sabha through both the general election and the proportional representation (PR) categories, will tilt the scales in favour of the Prachanda-led alliance. Prior to this, Mr. Dahal had resigned from the Nepali Congress-led government that had ruled the country since its leader Sher Bahadur Deuba was named Prime Minister in a decision ordered by the Supreme Court in July 2021.

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