The Maoists in Nepal on Sunday stepped up pressure on the ruling CPN-UML coalition to quit as it underlined the key role of a government led by its supremo Prachanda to end the deepening political crisis in the country.
Unified CPN-Maoist rejected Premier Madhav Kumar Nepal's proposal that if the former rebels dropped its insistence on Prachanda as the next prime minister he might consider quitting the top post, paving the way for the formation of a new coalition.
Mohan Vaidya "Kiran", a top leader of the UCPN-Maoist said his party's central committee has already decided chairman Prachanda would head a coalition if the party gets the chance to form a government.
Seeking the immediate resignation of Nepal, he said his party has set May 1 as deadline for the Prime Minister to leave office and pave the way for the setting up a national unity government under its leadership.
"The peace process and the constitution making process could not move forward unless Prime Minister Nepal resigns," he underlined.
The political leaders are struggling to meet a May 28 deadline to finish the drafting of a new constitution as stipulated by the peace process that brought the civil war to an end in 2006.
The Maoists, who have around 40 per cent of the seats in parliament, want the present government disbanded, followed by the formation of a new coalition government led by them.
The Maoist leader's remarks came in response to Nepal's statement asking the Maoists to consider an alternative to Prachanda if they wanted him to consider quitting.
"Now there is no possibility of drafting the constitution within May and unless the present government is dissolved our party cannot support the move to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly," Vaidya said.
He warned that his party may go for indefinite general strike from May 2 if the government did not resign by May 1. "If the Prime Minister did not resign, we would launch intensified movement and topple the government through street agitation," he said.
The Maoists are preparing for a massive protest rally against the 22-party ruling coalition from May 1 to dislodge the government.
The standoff has put new stresses on Nepal's reconciliation efforts amid fears that the stalled peace process may be derailed if the Maoists go ahead with its agitation next month.