The dispute between UCPN(M), Congress, and UML regarding the government’s decision to forward the case of CA member Balkrishna Dhungel, who has been of convicted murderer and Supreme Court has announced a life sentence and seizure of all property, to the President for pardon did not last long. The Supreme Court’s stay order helped calm down the situation. The parties though they criticized the expansion of the cabinet did not intensify their opposition. Rather, there was an agreement among UCPN (M), Congress, and UML to take the peace and constitution-drafting process forward.
As the peace and constitution-drafting was gathering momentum, the Council of Ministers decided to recommend CA member Balkrishna Dhungel, who has been handed down a life sentence and confiscation of property by the Supreme Court, for presidential pardon. In addition, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai appointed 29 state and seven assistant ministers to form a 46-member Council of Ministers, which prompted sharp reactions from Congress, UML and other opposition parties. They alleged that these acts of the government have undone the atmosphere of trust for peace and constitution-drafting process.
A seven-point agreement was reached between the three major parties UCPN (M), Nepali Congress, UML, and United Democratic Madhesi Forum (UDMF) to complete the peace process and take the constitution-drafting process forward. It paved the way for a more substantial basis for completing the peace and constitution-drafting process than previous agreements.
Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s claim of UCPN (M) and Nepali Congress being close to an agreement close to an agreement on the peace process and achieving a breakthrough soon raised the suspicions of UML leaders. UML leaders always suspected that in any talks without them the UCPN (M) would easily entrap the Nepali Congress, and now they feared that their role would be secondary in the peace process. As a result, UML leaders publicly warned, “The result of an agreement between UCPN (M) and Nepali Congress by sidelining the UML would be disastrous”.
Prime minister met with main political parties one day before his India visit in the name of seeking consensus on the peace process. The talks held at the prime minister’s residence at Baluwatar among Nepali Congress, UML, and UCPN (M) could not last. Instead, UCPN (M) leaders held a separate meeting citing insufficient discussions within the party. After vice-chairperson Mohan Vaidya’s insistence for further discussion within the party, the atmosphere for consensus could not be created from within UCPN (M).
There was no tangible outcome on the peace process despite claims by UCPN (M) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai of nearing a consensus. As no agreements could be reached in the discussions between Congress and UCPN (M), Congress held a separate meeting with UML. While Nepali Congress and UML agreed to reach a common understanding on peace process and constitution, UCPN (M) was embroiled in internal disputes.
The Council of Ministers on 2 October 2011 took decision to increase the allowances of the Maoist combatants by Rs 1500 from the previous Rs 5000 per month. The opposition parties Nepali Congress and UML opposed the increase in allowances at a time when the peace process should be concluded and a new constitution promulgated. They were mainly against the increase as it was raised without first discussion in the Army Integration Special Committee.