Indian envoy meets Nepal amid deepening political crisis



Indian envoy meets Nepal amid deepening political crisis Kathmandu: Indian Ambassador Rakesh Sood Wednesday met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal amid the deepening political crisis that could leave the country without a functioning legislature by the weekend.

The Indian ambassador here, who met the Prime Minister at his residence this morning, held discussion on bilateral issues including the ongoing dialogues among the political parties to resolve the prolonged deadlock over the extension of the Constituent Assembly's tenure, the Kantipur online reported.

Ambassador Sood also voiced concern over the deepening political crisis, it said.

Amid growing fear of constitutional crisis and chaos, Sood urged the Prime Minister to pave the way for consensus to end the standoff in the country, the report said.

Observers believe the meeting is significant as it comes against the backdrop of hectic parleys between the major parties to extend the term of the House beyond May 28.

The Maoists, who have often accused India of interfering in the internal affairs of the country by supporting the Nepal-led government, have refused to cooperate in extending the term of the Assembly till the Prime Minister steps down.

Nepal's ruling coalition last week introduced a bill in the 601-Assembly to extend the term of the House for one year so that it can finish the task of framing a new constitution.

Leaders of the three major political parties -- the main Opposition CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime minister's Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) -- met today but failed to reach an agreement to end the standoff.

Meanwhile, the meeting of the Assembly to vote on the eighth constitution amendment bill to pave the way for extension of the term of the House was put off till Friday.

CPN-Maoist party, with nearly 35 percent of the parliamentary seats, have refused to cooperate in extending the Assembly till Nepal quits.

Without the Maoists support, the ruling coalition would be unable to garner the two-thirds parliamentary vote required to get the proposal approved by the House.

The failure of the government and opposition leaders to resolve disagreements could leave the country without a functioning legislature by the weekend.

The expiry of the House will lead to the end of the mandate of the interim constitution, creating a political chaos and constitutional crisis, according to experts.

PTI