‘Bhattarai would quit if consensus alternative fou



‘Bhattarai would quit if consensus alternative fou Kathmandu: Ahead of a massive opposition rally to press for Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai ouster, a top Maoist leader has said the Premier is ready to quit if political consensus was reached for an alternative leader.

"Bhattarai would not be an obstacle if the major political parties forge consensus for providing an alternative to his leadership for forming a national consensus government," said Devendra Poudyal, Unified CPN (Maoist) politburo member and chief adviser to the Prime Minister.

He was speaking in Butawal at an interaction to discuss the current political situation in Nepal that has been limping from one political crisis to another in the last few years.

Nepal's 22 opposition parties are gearing for a massive anti-government protest on Friday demanding that Bhattarai be ousted for his "unilateral" and "unconstitutional" decision to hold fresh elections in the country without consulting them.

Poudyal said the government had to announce fresh elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA) on May 27 as consensus could not be forged among the political parties on the contentious?issue of constitution drafting.

Dismissing the opposition's allegation that the announcement for fresh poll was an unconstitutional move, he said the election announcement was in line with the verdict of the apex court and as per the spirit of the Interim Constitution.

The opposition alliance has said that they plan to bring 150,000 people on the streets of the capital for their show down with the Maoist-led government.

C P Gajurel, secretary of the UCPN-Maoist, who is part of a dissident group among the Maoists, also sought "immediate removal of Prime Minister Bhattarai from the top post and charged that the announcement of fresh election had something to do with "foreign influence".

Gajurel also ruled out the possibility of reinstatement of the Constituent Assembly, an idea floated by Maoist chief Prachanda, and called for a round-table meeting involving all political forces to draft the new constitution.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, Yang Houlan met Maoist Chairman Prachanda today and expressed his concern over the latest political development.

According to media reports, the Chinese envoy has expressed his concern over the political polarisation following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly.

CPN-UML president Jhala Nath Khanal also held consultations with 20 heads of diplomatic missions and drew their attention towards the "unilateral" decision made by Prime Minister Bhattarai on May 27 to declare fresh election to the Constituent Assembly in an unconstitutional manner.

The former prime minister also warned the coalition government not to behave in an authoritarian way by undermining democratic norms and values, as peace and constitution both are impossible without political consensus and broader understanding.

PTI