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RSP Chairman Lamichhane Meets Nepal's PM Prachanda

Ravi Lamichhane, Chairman of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, called Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" on Sunday. Attempts have been made by the Maoist leader to convince the former TV journalist to join the government have been unsuccessful.

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Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda
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Rashtriya Swatantra Party Chairman Ravi Lamichhane on Sunday called on Nepal's Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', in a significant move as the Maoist leader has been trying to persuade the former TV journalist to join the government to strengthen his fragile ruling coalition.
    
The Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP), the fourth largest party in Nepal's Parliament, won two out of three seats of the House of Representatives in recently held by-elections, raising its tally in the lower house to 22.
    
Lamichhane, former TV journalist and the president of the RSP, won the by-polls held in Chitawan-2 constituency with a huge margin, in a surprise defeat to the ruling alliance. 
    
Lamichhane met Prachanda at the Prime Minister's residence, My Republica newspaper reported.
    
Prachanda congratulated the RSP chief on his victory in the by-polls.
    
The Prime Minister had congratulated Lamichhane over the phone immediately after he was elected, and he again congratulated him during their meeting today, Press Coordinator Surya Kiran Sharma was quoted as saying by the newspaper.
    
The RSP was the third largest member of the ruling coalition in Nepal before quitting the government after Prachanda denied Lamichhane's reinstatement to the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister after his citizenship controversy.
    
Lamichhane's Parliament membership was revoked by the Supreme Court earlier this year after he was found guilty of not producing a valid citizenship certificate to contest the parliamentary election. He was compelled to obtain back his citizenship and prepare for the by-election.
    
The meeting between the prime minister and Lamichhane comes at a crucial time for the Prachanda-led eight-party alliance, as he seeks to persuade the RSP to join the government.
    
The RSP has not yet withdrawn its support to the Prachanda-led coalition government, though its ministers had already quit the government.
    
The ruling coalition includes the Nepali Congress, Communist Party Nepal-Maoist Centre, CPN-Unified Socialist, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Janamat Party, Janta Samajwadi Party, Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janamorcha.

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