Amid the deadlock over government formation in Nepal, Terai-based Madhesi parties have claimed the right to lead a new coalition in a bid to meet the new deadline set by President Ram Baran Yadav.
Leaders of three Terai-based political parties --Madhesi People's Rights Forum (Democratic), Terai Madhes Democratic Party and Sadbhavana Party -- claimed the right to lead a new coalition government as the major parties have failed to agree on the formation of a consensus government.
During a recent meeting, the Madhesi leaders claimed that if the three major parties-- the main Opposition UCPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), the key ruling alliance partners -- could not forge a consensus then it is the turn of the fourth largest block in Parliament to stake claim for the government leadership.
If the big parties cannot agree on formation of the government, then it is our turn to provide a solution, said Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, the Deputy Prime Minister in the caretaker government and president of Madhesi People's Rights Forum (Democratic), the fourth largest party in the House.
The three Madhesi party together form the fourth largest block in the 601-member Constituent Assembly, which functions as the interim parliament.
They have asked the Maoist party, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to form a consensus government at the earliest.
The Madhesi parties met senior Maoist leaders on Thursday in an attempt to forge a consensus to forming a new government.
President Yadav extended the deadline to July 12 to suggest a name for post of the Prime Minister based on consensus after Nepalese parites failed to meet the July 7 deadline after prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal quit on June 30 following months of protests by the former rebels.
The Maoists, who ended their decade-long civil war in 2006, have claimed the leadership of new government as it is largest party in parliament.
However, senior leaders in the Nepali Congress, the second largest party in the House, have also staked its claim to lead a new government, leading to a political deadlock in the country.
Nepal's Terai plains are home to about half of the country's 30 million people, and the residents of the region, are known as Madhesis. The pro-Terai parties argue that people in the Madhesi-dominated southern plains have long been treated as second-class citizens in Nepal, where hill-origin elites dominate politics, the security forces and business.