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Nepal’s ‘puppet’ PM quits
- Chand was advised by Gyanendra to resign

Kathmandu, May 30: Barely have the Everest celebrations ended when Nepal is back to yet another spell of political uncertainty.

And it is back to it with a bang with the Prime Minister, Lokendra Bahadur Chand, resigning this morning, apparently on the advice of King Gyanendra himself.

Chand’s resignation climaxes weeks of agitations by five major political parties, including the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), which were demanding the formation of an all-party government and restoration of the dissolved parliament.

Only yesterday, the NC threatened to demand the abolition of the constitutional monarchy — in line with the Maoists — and the setting up of a republic if the King refused to concede the demand for a popular government.

Chand’s regime was known to have been a puppet government that the King formed after dismissing the previous Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba one-and-a-half years ago. Deuba, a factional leader of the Nepali Congress, helped the King’s cause by dissolving the parliament.

Although the country’s constitution says that there cannot be a gap of more than six months between the dissolution of one parliament and the formation of the next through elections, Nepal has not had a parliament for more than a year now.

The political drift took a turn for the worse when the Supreme Court rejected a plea for restoration of the dissolved parliament. For the past two days, more than 100 members of the agitating parties were holding a “parliament session” at a convention hall here.

Chand’s resignation now has given a fresh twist to the formation of the new government and the role of the agitating parties in it. The King is believed to be consulting these parties till this evening with an offer to join the new government.

Joining the government will take the wind out of the sails of their current agitation. But they will do so only if they are assured “full executive powers”, said a leader of the Nepali Congress. Chand’s resignation also put a question mark on the current peace talks between the government and the Maoists.

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