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Leaders descend on Sheetal Niwas for extension



KATHMANDU: As political parties failed to forge consensus on a consensus-based prime ministerial candidate within the stipulated deadline, top leaders of major political parties have reached to the President to extend the deadline on Consensus PM.

Last week, President Ram Baran Yadav had issued a week-long lifeline to political parties to agree on a candidate to replace the incumbent caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.

Top leaders from the two big opposition parties--Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, -- and ruling parties--UCPN-Maoist and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) reached Sheetal Niwas at 6pm on Thursday to request the President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to extend the deadline, to constitute the national unity government, said our correspondent Bal Kumar Nepal.

Yadav had asked political parties "to choose the prime minister on the basis of a political consensus and recommend the name to him by November 29", which is today.

The President had made the call as per Article 38(1) of the interim constitution at a time when the country is without parliament.

It is learnt that Rajendra Mahato is representing the UDMF in today's meet citing Bijaya Kumar Gachhadhar’s hectic schedule.

“The President won’t trespass the constitutional limit, and will abide by the interim constitution to end the current political impasses," a privy sourcefrom Sheetal Niwas said while the meeting is underway at the Offical of President in Maharajgunj.

The NC and CPN-UML on Wednesday had made up their mind to press the President urgently and ask for extending the deadline to forge an understanding on a consensus-based prime ministerial candidate.

As the Constituent Assembly(CA) elected on May 28, 2008 had died its death on May 27, 2012 without promulgating a new constitution, the government was relegated on May 29, 2012 to the status of caretaker by President Yadav, to function till a new unity government is formed.

Constitutional provisions say that if parties fail to form a national unity government by tomorrow, then a majority-based government ought to be formed, but as there is no Parliament in place, it will be impossible to invoke Article 38 (2), which calls for choosing the prime minister through voting.

When Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had called on the Head of State on Tuesday, the latter had asked Dahal what should be done if the parties failed to give a consensus name for the prime minister as per Article 38 (1).

While serious endeavors should have been made to seek a replacement for the current PM in the last six days, key leaders engaged themselves more into the race for the top executive.

Wasted week

While Nepali Congress (NC) is saying that it is all set to announce its President Sushil Koiralas a priministerial candidate for the national unity government after senior leader of the party Sher Bahadur showed his unwillingness to steer the helm.

While NC has long been staking claim to government leadership, the UCPN-M is saying that it would accept NC at the helm only if the Congress ‘agrees on the contents of the new constitution’.

Nepali Congress (NC) has been intensifying parleys with different leaders to form the unity government under its leadership. NC President Sushil Koirala on Tuesday morning talked terms on unity government with Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar.

“ I will be rather happy to see Koirala as consensus PM,” said Gachhadar following his meeting with the NC president .

“I am ready to accept the leadership of the 'altruistic and saintly' leader Koirala.”

“At this critical juncture, we need a leader who is ready to display unselfish concerns for the welfare of people and nation.”

Earlier, on Monday, NC President had held a meet with Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) Chief Mahanta Thakur to seek assistance for the NC-led national unity government.

CPN-UML- one of the opposition parties seeking PM's ouster has already asked NC to name its prime ministerial candidate at the earliest.

Today, CPN-UML is likely to endorse President’s call for national unity government, which as per President’s appeal needs to by constituted by Thursday.

But, UCPN-M is pitching to transform the current government into a consensus government. On Tuesday, Dahal had proposed the President to morph the current Maoist-led government into a national consensus government.

On the occasion, Dahal, as learnt, had floated names of four leaders who could possibly be named as possible prime ministerial candidate for the much-awaited national unity government.

Dahal said, if not current premier Bhattarai, Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Tarai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) Chief Mahanta Thakaur or DPM Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar could lead the government.

The current government was relegated to the status of caretaker on May 29, 2012, and only last Friday President had appealed to parties to name a consensus PM by Thursday , which for the opposition parties could be constituted only after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai steps down.

Earlier on Sunday, Dahal and Chairman of the CPN-Maoist Mohan Baidhya had decided to propose CPN-M General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa for the post of PM to the other parties


Guven the apparent incapacity of the leaders of the political parties, hailed as great by our intellectuals, maybe the President should extend the date for yet another five years and that too without any hope of being a reality. K. K. Sharma, Kathmandu

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