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Nepal Political Security: Dahal, Deuba Save Coalition

Formation of a new government, in Koshi Provincial Assembly led to a possible rift in the coalition with the CPN (Maoist) and Nepali Congress (NC) division over the Chief Ministerial candidate. Nepali Congress (NC) Provincial Assembly member and a rebel candidate Kedar Karki was appointed as the chief minister of Koshi Province ironically with the support of the main opposition party, CPN-UML.

Karki obtained signatures of 47 members of the Provincial Assembly, including 39 members of the UML and eight members of his own party, NC and was thus appointed by the Province Chief, Parshuram Khapung, as the chief minister of Koshi Province.

While initially CPN (Maoist Center) leader Indra Bahadur Angbo was selected as the new Chief Minister in Koshi Province by the coalition a split in the NC saw Karki, considered close to the NC rival faction leader Dr Shekhar Koirala submitted signatures of 39 Provincial Assembly members of the UML and eight of NC to stake claim for the post.

To avoid a split in the coalition, a meeting of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, and NC rival faction leader Dr Koirala was held at the prime minister’s office in Baluwatar to decide to give a vote of confidence to Karki.

Later, Prime Minister Dahal, also the Chairman of the Maoist Center, confirmed that the alliance collectively supports Karki’s appointment as the CM. "The issue in Koshi has been resolved, which will ultimately strengthen the alliance," he said. "We will not allow the alliance to weaken under any circumstances. Karki has now become the chief minister. He is our common candidate," he added.

Meanwhile the role of the main opposition party CPN UML needs examination with an attempt to gain support of the divide in the NC with support for the Shekhar Koirala group which had only eight members on the Koshi province in its favour assisted by the UML to form the government.

Clearly if the aim of CPN UML was to split the coalition it has not worked so far, but it will not be the last time when the wily K P Sharma Oli led party will be making such an attempt.

On the other hand, the NC faction led by Koirala is not happy with the coalition government in Kathmandu led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and fears that anti incumbency may have an impact on image of the Party in future polls. Koirala is thus in favour of supporting the Dahal government from outside. NC head Sher Bahadur Deuba on the other hand is awaiting his turn to lead the government at the Centre after Dahal reaches the halfway mark.

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