Nepali Congress steps up efforts to oust PM Bhattarai
Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, June 29, 2012
First Published: 19:22 IST(29/6/2012)
Last Updated: 23:25 IST(29/6/2012)
Nepali Congress, the country's oldest party, has stepped up its campaign to remove the Baburam Bhattarai led Maoist-Madhesi coalition and replace it with a national unity government.
Since Thursday, the second largest party in the dissolved Constituent Assembly has begun seeking support from Madhesi coalition partners of the caretaker government to form the next government.
Though Bhattarai has expressed unwillingness to quit till the next elections in November, opposition parties are busy with efforts to dislodge him due to differences with his election announcement.
Nepal's CA, which doubled as parliament, was dissolved last month for failing to draft a new constitution on time and Bhattarai had announced fresh polls to constitute a new parliament.
Unlike Maoists and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) which have headed government twice since 2008, NC is yet to don that role and many feel it deserves a chance.
On Thursday, NC president Sushil Koirala, the most likely candidate to replace Bhattarai, held discussions with Mahanta Thakur, chairman of Tarai Madhes Democratic Party and a member of the Maoist-Madhesi coalition.
Koirala's close aide Laxman Dhakal stated that discussions revolved around ousting the PM and formation of a NC-led national unity government based on consensus among all parties.
But instead of agreeing to Koirala's request, Thakur asked the former to clearly state NC's stance on issues concerning welfare of the Terai region and its population.
"It seems opposition parties want to overthrow the government in order to prevent it from presenting the annual budget. Such a move will hurt the country," TMDP spokesperson Sarvendranath Shukla said.
Koirala met health minister and chairman of Sadbhawana Party Rajendra Mahato on Friday and sought support to form the next government.
"There is no alternative to consensus among parties as the present government is caretaker and there is no provision in the interim constitution to replace it," said Mahato after the meeting.
Meanwhile chairman of CPN (UML) Jhalanath Khanal stated on Friday that his party was ready to support a NC-led government.
Nepal is witnessing a political and constitutional crisis as there is no clear provision in the interim constitution on how the country will function in case the CA failed to draft the new constitution.