Nepal opposition parties to corner govt over ''secret'' deal

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Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, Feb 13 (PTI) Thirteen non-Communistparties, including the main opposition Nepali Congress, todayagreed to corner the government in Parliament over a "secret"deal between Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and Maoistssupremo Prachanda that "violated" Nepal''s 2006 peace process.

The 13 political parties, including three Madhesiparties from the Terai region bordering India, took strongexception to the seven-point "secret" agreement between Khanaland Prachanda ahead of the election for the prime minister''spost on February 3.

It is claimed that the "secret" pact includesprovisions such as sharing of the Prime Ministerial postbetween Khanal and Prachanda on rotational basis and formingseparate unit in Nepal Army after the integration of theformer Maoist combatants with the military.

The Neplese opposition parties agreed that such anagreement not only violated the spirit of 2006 ComprehensivePeace Agreement (CPA), interim constitution and various otherpacts reached in the past, but also undermined theconstitutionally formed Special Committee for Supervision,Integration and Rehabilitation of the 19,000 former Maoistcombatants.

They claimed the agreement to share the PrimeMinisterial post on a rotational basis aims to establish thehegemony of the two Left parties.

Prime Minister Khanal has, however, dismissed reportsthat he had agreed to hand over power to Prachanda as part ofa "secret" deal.

Ram Chandra Poudyal, parliamentary party leader of theNepali Congress, said the political parties have decided toraise the issue in parliament.

"All the parties which were present in the meetingwill sit in the opposition bench in Parliament," he told themedia after the meeting today.

The meeting called by Nepali Congress was attended byleaders from Madhesi People�s Rights Forum-Democratic, TeraiMadhes Democratic Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party,Sadbhawana Party, Sadbhawana Party-Anandidevi, Nepal DalitJanajati Party, Nepal Family Party, Chure Bhawar RastriyaParty, Samajbadi Janata Party, Rastriya PrajatantraParty-Nepal and Nepal Democratic Socialist Party.

They expressed concern over the failure to bring thecantoned Maoist combatants practically under the control ofSpecial Committee, according to a joint statement.

The parties also underlined the need for thepromulgation of a new constitution and concluding the peaceprocess within the stipulated time frame of May-end.

Khanal, who was elected by lawmakers after more thanseven months of stalemate and 17 attempts on February 3,has failed to finalise a power-sharing deal with the Maoists,with whose support he won the election.

The two main allies - CPN-UML and the Maoists - havefailed to arrive at an understanding over the distribution ofportfolios. UCPN-Maoist, the largest party in the House isdemanding important portfolios, including the home ministry.

The Maoists have decided not to join the cabinet astheir demand for the important home ministry portfolio was notfulfilled.

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