Finally, Prachanda has sacrificed something to the country (in his own words) and so the country now has a new prime minister. Jhalanath Khanal becomes the 34th prime minister of Nepal after being elected in the parliament today. Khanal elected with the highest votes in parliament after Pushpa Kamal Dahal (prachanda) withdrew his candidacy and urged his party to vote for Jhalnath Khanal.
Jhalanath Khanal secured majority of 368 votes against 122 of his nearest rival Ram Chandra Paudel in the election of parliament today while the other Bijaya Gachchhadar just had 67 votes under his candidacy. Mr Khanal, 61 is the third leader from the CPN-UML to reach to the top executive post of the country. Late Manmohan Adhikari was the first prime minister from the party while outgoing Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal was the second. The country hadn’t got any leader after Madhav Kumar Nepal had resigned on June 30 last year and the recent revised election rules helped to break the deadlock. (Unsurprisingly) This was the 17th attempt for a new prime minister in the country!
Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s decision to Jhalanath Khanal was surprising enough. Analysts believe that Dahal supported Khanal because of his sympathetic nature to their (Maoists) views. Most importantly it was because Dahal saw no possibility of him being elected which he also expressed in his speech in the parliament. “I sensed I am not going to win this election,” said Dahal while announcing his withdrawal, adding that he took the decision to sacrifice to the nation. He added “There was a situation that the election could bring no result again. I analyzed the situation seriously throughout last night and foresaw a danger of this election also bringing no result.”
Dahal also made a funny note (although serious) of Jhalanath Khanal being slapped saying “People have started slapping leaders. And if a prime minister is not elected even today, people will throw shoes at us.” He further added that his decision would lay foundation for forwarding the peace process and constitution-writing.
Congratulations to Jhalanath Khanal for being our next leader of the country. But let us remind him, “with great power comes great responsibility” and the important responsibilities ahead are constitution drafting, peace process and army integration. He has just three and half more months remaining for deadline to draft constitution and to bring peace process to an end. The challenge is great but we hope capable leaders like Jhalanath Khanal would make it!
P.S. He won’t urge public to slap him again and be reminded of all that!