Kathmandu: The race for the formation of a new government in Nepal on Saturday took a fresh turn with the country`s second largest party Nepali Congress saying its leader Ramchandra Poudyal would be a candidate for the Prime Minister`s post.
The Nepali Congress is the second largest party in the Constituent Assembly and its decision to put up Poudyal for the election of a prime minister on July 21 will pit the party against the dominant Maoists.
65-year-old Poudyal`s name was proposed by former premier Sher Bahadur Deuba and was endorsed unanimously by the central committee of the party, according to Nepali Congress vice president Gopalman Shrestha.
Nepali Congress today also held talks with Unified CPN-Maoist leaders at the former`s party office at Sanepa and discussed issues relating to formation of the next government.
During the meeting, Nepali Congress asked the Maoists to join the government-led by Poudyal, according to NC spokesman Arjun Narsingh K C.
Top Maoist leaders including party chairman Prachanda and hardliner leader Mohan Vaidya "Kiran" attended the meeting, he said. Nepali Congress acting President Shushil Koirala, Poudyal and general secretary Bimalendra Nidhi attended the meeting.
The Maoists are making efforts to form a government under their leadership. However, the present ruling alliances Nepali Congress and CPN-UML are opposed to the idea of forming a Maoist-led government, before managing their army.
Nepali Congress yesterday unveiled a four month roadmap for integrating the Maoist combatants. The Nepali Congress will hold meeting with leaders of CPN-UML tomorrow in a bid to woo their support.
The party will soon hold discussions with the Madhesi parties and other smaller parties for the purpose, spokesman KC said.
As per the call by President Ram Baran Yadav, the Parliament has set July 21 as date to elect the Prime Minister on the basis of majority votes.
One who gets support of more than 50 per cent of the 601 members of the CA will be elected next Prime Minister.
The Maoists having nearly 40 per cent seats in the CA are also trying to woo support from UML and other smaller parties to form a government under its leadership.
Another contender of the Prime Minister Jhal Nath Khanal is expecting support from the CPN-Maoist to form a government that would replace his own party`s Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Madhesi parties Madhesi People`s Rights Forum- Democratic and Terai Madhes Democratic Party, which comes in fourth and fifth number are also trying their luck that they might get chance if big parties could not agree on formation of next government.