Prime Minister of overwhelming support and unknown fate; who is in pressure with strain

Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda” received a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives (HoR) on 10 January after becoming Prime Minister on 25 December.

He needed only 138 votes to become Prime Minister, but he got 268 votes out of 270 votes in the 275-member HoR. Only two lawmakers—one from the Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party and the other from the Rastriya Janmorcha voted against him.

Though Prachanda got overwhelming support from almost all the political parties, he is not having a rosy days. The Prime Minister is facing tough time in satisfying the parties – the Nepali Congress , the CPN-UML and the newly emerged Rashtriye Swatantra Party(RSP).

The Prime Minister Prachanda led seven-party ruling alliance has turned uncertain and unpredictable within just 40 days of the formation of the government.

The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), a major partner in the ruling coalition, has threatened to pull out of the government after the prime minister refused to reinstate party president Rabi Lamichhane as home minister again.

Rabi Lamichhane, President of Rastriya Swatantra Party(RSP)

Lamichhane, who had tendered resignation from the post after the Supreme Court found him guilty in the citizenship case, re-acquired citizenship on Sunday and is asking for the post again.

On Thursday, while the meeting of the RSP’s Central Committee and the Parliamentary Party was underway, Prime Minister Dahal ,UML Chair Oli and RPP Chair Lingden telephoned and requested the party to not take decision of quiting government and to wait until Saturday for settling the issue.

The meeting had decided to continue to stake its claim on the home ministry, this time at the high-level political mechanism, and wait until Saturday for further developments.

Prime Minister Dahal seems to be under extreme pressure from the RSP to reinstate Lamichhane in his previous position–deputy prime minister and home minister. UML Chairman Oli has also been mounting pressure on the prime minister.

However, Prachanda in the opinion that Lamichhane should not be returned to the responsibility of the Ministry of Home Affairs along with the Deputy Prime Minister immediately. He is saying that it will not send a good message to return Lamichhane to his old responsibility as soon as he is relieved of the post as he is involved in serious issues related to citizenship and passport.

Similarly, it is not only the RSP that has threatened to quit the government. Two other coalition partners Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) and Nagarik Unmukti Party (NUP) have also refused to join the government over various concerns.

Likewise, coalition partner Janamat Party is also displeased over not getting a ministry of its choice.

So, the Prachanda’s fate remains unknown ; whatif the political party/parties that have supported him in the vote of confidence in the parliament withdraw their support even before the end of two years?

As per the constitutional provision, Prime Minister Dahal will have to seek a vote of confidence within a month if any of the ruling coalition partners withdraws its support to the government.

The overwhelming support that Prachanda got on 10 January during the vote of confidence for various reasons does not project his real strength.

Amidst this environment of political uncertainty, Prachanda’s fate hinges on several factors and it seems that the time ahead is turbulent as political instability is likely to continue.



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