India concerned at Nepal’s delay in forming government


Kathmandu : India is concerned at the delay in the formation of a full-fledged government in Nepal even though the Himalayan republic chose a new prime minister to replace Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda eight days ago.

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The Indian ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood Monday braved the Kathmandu valley general strike called by its indigenous Newar community to meet former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala and offer New Delhi’s assistance to take the frozen peace process forward.

The new prime minister, veteran communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal has been unable to expand his three-member cabinet that has only representatives from his own party. Koirala’s Nepali Congress, his biggest ally, is yet to name its ministers though the party gave Koirala the power to nominate them.

The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, the second largest ally, lies in disarray with its two factions battling over prize ministries.

Even Nepal’s own party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, is to agree on further representation in the cabinet.

The 22 parties that jointly elected Nepal as the new premier were scheduled to hold a meeting Monday to negotiate an expanded cabinet. However, it had to be postponed due to the strike.

India is also concerned that the Maoists have blocked the interim parliament, not allowing it to convene since last month, when their government fell.

They are demanding a debate in the house to discuss whether the President, Dr Ram Baran Yadav, acted in accordance with the constitution when he reinstated the chief of the army they had sacked.

If the debate is not allowed, the former rebels have threatened to begin disruptive protests nationwide from Wednesday.