Kathmandu: Nepal`s major political parties are likely to agree by this weekend on the date of holding Constituent Assembly elections, a top Madhesi leader has said.
"It is appropriate to hold Constituent Assembly elections either on November 22 or 29 in 2013 and the matter may be decided during next meeting of High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) involving the four major political forces, on Saturday, April 27," Mahanta Thakur, president of Terai Madhes Democratic Party, a key Madhesi party, told select Indian journalists here.
Though, Nepal`s major political parties had tentatively agreed to hold elections in May-June, the idea had to be abandoned as parties were divided on modality and rules relating to the elections.
"It would not be possible to hold elections beyond November as the mountain regions of the country will see snow fall," he pointed out.
Thakur also claimed, that, "If Madhesi parties were united or had seat-adjustments they could emerge as the single largest force in the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections as the people belonging to Madhesis and ethnic minorities have become more aware about ethnicity, identity and federalism".
"Efforts are on to merge Madhesi parties for bringing them under single roof as all of them have been pursuing the same issue," he said.
The big political parties, mainly Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, have become weaker in the election constituencies in the Terai region, he added.
Talks are going on among over half a dozen Madhesi parties for merger and "if merger is not possible we will make seat adjustments during the election so as to get maximum benefit during the polls", he said.
"China is interested in getting involved in development activities of Nepal, which is also good for us," Thakur said.
The Chinese are mainly interested in collaborating in water management and tourism sectors, he added.
"We welcome Chinese assistance as it would help boost our economic development," Thakur said.
"Although we should expand our trade relations with both India and China, the emerging world economies, for getting maximum benefit, Nepal should develop closer ties with India as we are bound together by common, culture, religion, economy and social ties," he said.