Talking to journalists at his official residence in Baluwatar this morning, Prime Minister Bhattarai said he would lead the much-awaited national government and that the same would remain in place until the peace and constitution-drafting processes were concluded. Bhattarai’s statement today came hot on the heels of Nepali Congress’ leaders’ claim that NC would lead the government after November 30.
Bhattarai spoke on a wide range of issues — from murder convict Maoist lawmaker Balkrishna Dhungel to jumbo Cabinet to infighting within his party.
Standing firm on the Cabinet decision to recommend amnesty to Dhungel, Bhattarai said, “Dhungel’s is an exceptional case.” The prime minister said the government would not withdraw the decision. “Madhav Nepal had withdrawn about a dozen of criminal cases. Late Girija Prasad Koirala withdrew hundreds of such cases. There are lots of cases pending against lots of leaders, including Prachanda and myself,” he said. “Dhungel’s case was discussed during Madhav Nepal’s tenure and was taken up by Jhala Nath Khanal. I forwarded it.”
On biggest Cabinet ever, Bhattarai reiterated that it was his compulsion. “I sacrificed my popularity for the sake of peace and the constitution,” he said.
“Though I never wanted to have a Cabinet with more than 20 members, I had to pay heed to the demands of coalition partners.”
On intra-party rift and resentment from Mohan Baidhya, vice-chairman of his own party, the prime minister said, “Internal differences, ideological struggles and debates are only a tool to take a revolutionary party on the path of progress.” He outright ruled out the possibility of party split.
• No industries will be closed; sick ones will be revived soon
• Preparations on to buy aircraft for national flag carrier
• Ministers won’t be spared if they are involved in wrongdoings
• No deviation from good governance
• Big development projects on cards (fast track, hydropower, airports)
• Balancing international powers a matter of utmost concern
• Success of peace process depends on international powers’ support. HNS