Nepal`s Maoists asks parties to join hands; opposition rejects plea

Nepal`s ruling Maoist party asked the opposition parties to join a national consensus government under incumbent Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

Kathmandu: Nepal`s ruling Maoist party on Sunday asked the opposition parties to join a national consensus government under incumbent Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, a move immediately rejected by the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML.

"The most constitutional and practical way forward is for the NC and CPN-UML to join the government led by the Prime Minister Bhattarai and go for fresh election for Constituent Assembly in May to draft the constitution," Agni Sapkota, spokesperson of UCPN (Maoist) party said after a high level meeting here.

Sapkota said Bhattarai would lead the next government of national consensus.

Meanwhile, main opposition Nepali Congress party also today held separate meetings with CPN-UML, the third largest party in the dissolved Constituent Assembly and CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the Maoists led by Mohan Vaidya in an attempt to mobilise support for toppling the government led by the UCPN-Maoist.

During the talks, the top leaders of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist said that the resignation of Bhattarai is the first condition for reaching an agreement with the ruling alliance, according to Nepali Congress sources.
The opposition parties said that they would not sit for talks to seek other alternative unless the prime minister stepped down.

However, ruling UCPN-Maoist claims that it will lead the next government of national consensus and opposition parties Nepali Congress and CPN-UML would join it.

A meeting between the NC and CPN-Maoist held today as part of the efforts to forge consensus within the deadline given by the president for formation of a consensus government, decided to intensify pressure for PM Bhattarai`s ouster, Nepali Congress sources said.

The meeting concluded that they could not form national consensus government under Bhattarai`s leadership as proposed by the ruling alliance.
The meeting attended by NC President Sushil Koirala and
CPN-Maoist Vice Chairman CP Gajurel and senior Maoist leader Dev Gurung at Koirala`s residence in Maharajgunj also agreed to launch street protests against the government, sources close to Koirala said.

"There is no alternative to the ouster of the current government to forge resolve the ongoing political stalemate," CPN-Maoist leader Gurung told reporters.

"We have decided to launch protests if the door to dialogue and legal ways are shut," he said. "We have agreed on the need to unite opposition forces to unseat the current government," he said.

Similarly, NC President Koirala ruled out the possibility of an agreement with the UCPN-Maoist unless Bhattarai steps down. President Ram Baran Yadav has extended the deadline to pick a consensual candidate to lead a national government till Wednesday.

CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said, "Bhattarai was the obstruction on the path to consensus and there was no chance of agreement until he stepped down."

During the meeting with NC President Sushil Koirala at his residence in Maharajgunj, CPN-Maoist Vice Chairman CP Gajurel and leader Dev Gurung agreed to organise a joint protest to topple the government.

"There is no alternative for the current government than to step down," said leader Dev Gurung after the meet.

"We have concluded to go for protest if the constitutional and consensual ways are blocked," he added.