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China pushed Prachanda into sacking army chief: Sources
NEW DELHI, May 9 (Agencies):
Published on 9 May. 2009 11:55 PM IST
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While India was inviting popular opprobrium in Nepal trying to prevent Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda from sacking the army chief, China at the same time sent messages to Prachanda pledging support for doing just the opposite! According to sources monitoring events in Nepal during those crucial days, China reportedly told Prachanda to stick to his guns and they would support him. In fact, they had offered to train the PLA cadres who could be integrated into the Nepal army. Apparently, it was one of the assurances that led Prachanda to disregard the opinions of his allies in government and go ahead with the sacking, with disastrous consequences to the government and the infant democracy in Nepal. After India came under attack in Nepal for trying to “interfere” in its internal affairs, Prachanda on Friday called in Indian envoy Rakesh Sood for the first meeting after his resignation. The meeting smoothened ruffled feathers on both sides, but there was no sign that the task of building a government was going anywhere. The meeting was significant to the extent that having blamed India, both Prachanda and India are clearly open to mending fences. Reports from Kathmandu said that during the meeting Prachanda repeated the platitudes of maintaining the peace process. Prachanda has been on the defensive ever since a leaked video showing him revealing the Maoists’ strategy of taking over Nepal’s institutions of army and judiciary were revealed. This has added an edge to the normal political chaos in Kathmandu. In the video, Prachanda is shown telling his cadres that their main aim was to capture power and the signing of a peace accord was just a strategy to attain their goal. As the political parties in Nepal continued their efforts on Friday to cobble together a consensus government, it became clear the Maoists were not willing to roll over. As the president-imposed deadline to form a consensus government approaches on Saturday, the Maoists have refused to endorse UML as head of the new coalition. The Nepali Congress has said it would back a UML candidate for prime minister. If a consensus government eludes the parties, a vote will be held on the floor of the house for the parties to prove their majority. Meanwhile, reports also said US ambassador Nancy J Powell met Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala to try to form a government. Prachanda also met the chief of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Karin Landgren, and discussed the peace process.

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