Sitamarhi’s son to be Nepal’s new PM?

May 10th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 10 (IANS) A 56-year-old veteran politician, whose forefathers came to Nepal from the border district of Sitamarhi in India’s Bihar state, could become Nepal’s new prime minister, succeeding caretaker Maoist premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.

Madhav Kumar Nepal, the diminutive and softspoken communist leader known for his trademark Nepali cap, has been proposed for the top executive post by his Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), Nepal’s third-largest party, that said it would try to form a new coalition under its leadership.

UML chief Jhalanath Khanal Sunday proposed Nepal’s name for the hot seat, ending speculation of a leadership tussle in his own party.

Nepal, a Darbhanga University alumnus who became Nepal’s deputy prime minister during a communist government in the 90s, is the peer of India’s top left leaders and enjoys good relations with India’s rightist parties.

Nepal’s political career took a dive after the election last year in which he lost from both his constituencies in the Terai plains. Subsequently, he quit as the chief of the UML after being its undisputed leader for 15 years.

He also failed to become Nepal’s first president last year as his nomination was fiercely opposed by the Maoists. The slight made the UML side with the opposition Nepali Congress to pip the Maoists during the presidential race.

Madhav Nepal’s reputation also dived during the turbulent days that King Gyanendra tried to control the government through a series of hand-picked premiers.

He applied to the palace for the post of premier and under him, the UML joined the coalition favoured by the king.

However, after the king dispensed with the facade and tried to rule the country himself by seizing power with a bloodless coup, the UML joined the opposition alliance and took part in the pro-democracy movement that led to the ouster of the royal regime.

A moderate, he is currently the chairman of a high-level constitutional committee.

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