Will the CPN-UML join the national unity government under Baburam Bhattarai?
We were ready to join the present government under Bhattarai, but we were put off by the way portfolios were distributed without consulting us. We are holding talks with other parties and if the discussions end positively we will consider joining. But they need to give us the respect we deserve.
What sort of respect is the party seeking?
If they want us to be a part of the government, they should consult us before assigning portfolios. But they kept us out of the entire process.
Is it only because of the portfolios?
UML is not a party that feeds on leftovers. The Prime Minister should mend his ways and learn to bring everybody on board.
If constitution drafting is the need of the hour, why focus on power politics?
We are always in favour of statute drafting and have never prioritised power politics over constitution making. But when there is a written agreement, it must be carried out honestly. If they cannot implement the agreement, the UML is willing to stay out of the government and help in the process as we have been doing so far.
Are you just making excuses because the central committee refused to endorse the agreement that you had signed with the parties?
It is not an excuse. The central committee expressed dissatisfaction over the Prime Minister's high handedness and took a decision accordingly.
Editorial, 8 May
The CPN-UML has backtracked on its earlier commitment to join the national unity government citing dissatisfaction over portfolio distribution. After signing the five-point agreement, chairman Jhala Nath Khanal had said with a lot of hope that a unity government would pave way for statute drafting. But the UML's refusal to join the government because it was not offered 'attractive' ministries is shameful, especially since the party has been in power the longest after CA elections.
The UML should realise that in a parliamentary system, portfolio distribution is the prerogative of the prime minister. Besides, during Madhav Nepal also handed out important portfolios like home, defense, finance and communication to members of his own party during his tenure in office. By not joining the unity government, the UML has exposed its greed and this move is likely to dampen the party's political stature in the long run.