Row over ''secret deal'' between PM Khanal and Prachanda

Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, Feb 6 (PTI) A row has errupted in Nepalover a "secret agreement" between Prime Minister JhalanathKhanal and Maoist supremo Prachanda, with the Nepali Congresstoday condemning the pact that deals with the country''sstalled peace process.

Just as Khanal was sworn in as the new prime ministertoday, second largest Nepali Congress party, condemned the"secret agreement" between Khanal and Prachanda on thecountry''s peace process, including the integration of theformer rebels into the army.

The Central Working Committee meeting of the NepaliCongress flayed the seven-point "secret agreement" linked tothe peace process and the monitoring of the arms and the armyof the former Maoist combatants.

The deal reached between the two leaders, especiallythose regarding integration and rehabilitation of Maoistcombatants blatantly violated interim constitution, 2006Comprehensive Peace Accord and other agreements betweenprevious governments and the Maoist party, said CWC memberBimalendra Nidhi.

Khanal was elected the prime minister after Maoistsupremo Prachanda quit the race in his favour in a last minutedeal on Thursday.

Nepali Congress today took serious exception to theMaoist-UML agreement to form a separate force composed eitherof equal number of both the Maoist combatants and governmentsecurity forces or of only Maoist combatants, Nidhi said afterthe CWC meeting.

"The question of integration is something that has tobe decided at the Special Committee. It''s not a matter to beresolved through any secret deal between two parties," theNepali Congress said.

"Nepali Congress condemns the agreement reachedbetween the two that violates the peace process," it said in astatement.

The CWC meeting said the seven-point deal wentdirectly against the interim constitution, the Agreement onMonitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA) andall the past agreements in course of the peace process.

The Nepali Congress decided to be in the Oppositionand constructively and creatively involve itself in the peaceprocess and constitution drafting through the ConstituentAssembly.

"Nepali Congress decides to remain in the oppositionin the present context," the release said.

"NC will decide about its views towards the governmentafter studing the policy and programmes of the government,�it said.

There is growing anger in a section of the CPN-UMLparty and the Nepali Congress, which supported the Communistparty-led government since 2009, over the "secret deal" withthe Maoists, sources said.

Even as Khanal was sworn in as the new prime minister,the cabinet formation was delayed amid differences with itskey ally Maoists. Now Khanal is likely to form a small cabinettomorrow.

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