KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala has decided to opt out of the race for prime minister from his party amid counter claims for the post by rivals Ram Chandra Paudel and Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Sources close to Koirala said he had already conveyed this to both the leaders during a recent meeting.
Though he has dropped out of the race, Koirala has not said anything on whom he might support in case NC got the opportunity to lead the new government.
In recent party meetings, top leadership had come under growing pressure from Central Working Committee members to resolve conflicting claims on the party´s prime ministerial candidate after NC came under criticism over its inability to decide on the candidate.
“Koirala is in favor of becoming the prime minister only if there was consensus both within and outside the party on his candidacy,” said a NC leader close to him, adding that Koirala won´t be in the fray in case there is majority-based government.
With Koirala´s decision, internal struggle between Paudel and Deuba faction are likely to increase. While party vice president Paudel, who was the erstwhile parliamentary leader, claims that he is the rightful candidate, Deuba has maintained that he should get to lead the new government as he is left without any role in the party.
It may be recalled that the two sides had reached an understanding to support Deuba´s candidacy for the national consensus government and Paudel´s candidacy for majority-based government when the CA was still functioning.
“If there is a chance for the NC to lead a new government, it will be either Paudel or Deuba, but not Koirala now.” the leader said.