In a big blow to Prachanda, President Ram Baran Yadav has asked Gen Rukmangad Katawal to remain as Nepal's army chief as his dismissal by the Prime Minister does not meet the "constitutional requirements and due process". "Since the dismissal of the Army Chief and the new appointment do not meet the constitutional requirements and due process, I hereby direct you to continue as the Chief of the Nepali Army," the President said in a letter to Gen Katawal late on Sunday night. Mr. Yadav's move came hours after Mr. Prachanda sacked the Army Chief who refused to step down plunging the country into a political crisis. The President had on Sunday asked Mr. Prachanda to follow constitutional provisions and seek a political consensus over firing Gen Katawal. The letter asking Gen Katawal to remain in office also came after 18 political parties urged the President to protect the "constitution and block action against the Army Chief." Sources at the President's Office said Mr. Yadav, who is also the supreme commander of the Army, intervened in the matter as the parties commanding majority in parliament requested for his intervention to defend the constitution. Soon after the Government announced its decision to fire the Army Chief, CPN (UML) quit the government in protest against the decision. After a standing committee meeting of CPN(UML) at Balkhu, its chairman Jhalanath Khanal said his party has withdrawn support to the government and called back its ministers. The CPN(UML) has 108 members in the 601-member Constituent Assembly and its action has raised doubts over the survival of the multi-party coalition. Maoists have 229 members and it was not immediately clear whether the government was still in a majority.