Pressure mounts on Nepal PM to quit

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 23:25

Kathmandu: Political uncertainty gripped
Nepal as the opposition on Tuesday stepped up pressure on Maoist-
backed government of Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal to
resign, a day after a key Madhesi alliance partner split.

The Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum`s split yesterday is
a setback for the Khanal government, which has been seeking
support from the opposition parties to extend the term of the
601-member Constituent Assembly that expires on May 28.

Pressure stepped up on Khanal to resign as his
government failed to table the bill seeking to extend the term
of the Assembly for the straight third day due to the
obstruction put by the main opposition Nepali Congress in the
wake of split of MPRF, a Terai based a key alliance partner
from the Terai plains bordering India.

Nepali Congress, with its 113 seats have been able to
garner support from 16 other parties including the Madhesis
having more than one third strength in favour of its demands.

The Nepali Congress has submitted a ten point demand
asked the Maoists to lay down arms and agree on modality for
the integration of maximum 4,000 Maoist combatants and return
seized property before the government`s bill seeking to amend
the Interim Constitution for extending the term of the CA
beyond May 28 gets approval from the main opposition party.

Meanwhile, Jaya Prakash Gupta, the president of
Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum Republican, the breakaway
faction of the MPRF, asked Khanal to resign from the post
prior to extending the term of the Constituent Assembly.

"We are in favour of extending the CA`s term" he told
media persons adding "however, there is no alternative to the
resignation of the PM," he said.

"The completion of the peace and the statute drafting
processes must be ensured prior to the term extension."

The politburo meeting of the ruling CPN-UML of Prime
Minister Khanal yesterday asked the Prime Minister even to be
ready to quit power for paving way to forming an alternative
government if that was needed to forge a national consensus.

With the split in the MPRF led by Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Upendra Yadav, the coalition
government`s position in the Constituent Assembly has been
weakened making the role of main opposition Nepali Congress
crucial to get endorsed the government`s move to extend the CA
term.

While Yadav had decided to join the Communist-led
alliance, the dissidents had opposed the move to bail out the
coalition supported by the Maoists.

In the mean time, bilateral talks have been
intensified between Nepali Congress and the Maoist as well as
the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress to resolve the current
political impasses.

The Maoists and the NC have formed a four member task
force to for negotiation purposes as the country was heading
to a political catastrophe with no clear road map in sight
four days ahead of expiry of the Constituent Assembly term.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 - 23:25

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