Prachanda loses top ally as rift inside ruling coalition intensifies


A meeting of the RSP central committee held on Sunday decided to quit the government and recall the party’s ministers…writes Santosh Ghimire

In a huge setback to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), one of the key partners in the seven-party ruling alliance of Nepal, pulled out of the government on Sunday.

However, the party has decided to continue its parliamentary support to the Prachanda-led government.

A meeting of the RSP central committee held on Sunday decided to quit the government and recall the party’s ministers after Prime Minister Prachanda refused to re-appoint RSP President Rabi Lamichhane as the country’s home minister.

Earlier on Saturday, Lamichhane turned down Prachanda’s offer to take the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure instead of home ministry.

Lamichhane was serving as the home minister until Jan 27 before the country’s Supreme Court annulled his citizenship certificate on the ground that he never applied to reclaim his Nepali citizenship after renouncing his American citizenship.

With the apex court’s ruling, Lamichhane had lost his parliamentary and ministerial positions. He submitted his resignation to the prime minister on the same day.

With the exit of Lamichhane as the home minister, Prime Minister Prachanda himself is overseeing the home ministry.

Until today, Prachanda has not appointed anyone in place of Lamichhane. Speculations are rife that Prime Minister Prachanda will appoint someone else as the home minister from his own party.

Support from the RSP, the third largest force in the ruling alliance, is crucial for Prachanda as it maintains 20 seats in the 275-member strong House of Representatives.

Currently, the coalition government has a comfortable majority in parliament with the backing of 169 lawmakers. If the RSP doesn’t have Prachanda’s government it is not immediately in danger. It is because the Nepali Congress, largest party in parliament, has also lent support to Prime Minister Prachanda. But the NC is not part of the government.

(India Narrative)

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