KATHMANDU, May 2: Although Nepali Congress leaders are uninamous on putting in efforts to form an NC-led consensus government, they have found themselves sharply divided over how to go about doing this before May 27, when the deadline for promulgating constitution expires.
A joint meeting of NC Central Working Committee (CWC) and Parliamentary Party (PP) held at Constituent Assembly building in New Baneshwar Tuesday saw heated debate as party leaders stood for and against a no-trust motion to topple the current Baburam Bhattarai-led government.
While party vice-president and parliamentary party leader Ram Chandra Paudel argued that a no-trust motion was necessary also to exert pressure on the Maoist government to agree to consensus government, party general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula opposed the idea saying that such a move would only end the possibility of consensus among parties on various contentious issues of new constitution.
Addressing the meeting, Paudel argued that the Maoists were bent on prolonging the term of the existing ruling alliance as this will help them avoid immediate split of the party. "Maoists won´t bring a new constitution as long as they are in power. Their stay in the power has not only helped them keep the party united, but also corner all other parties," a leader quoted Paudel as saying at the meeting.
Leaders Ram Sharan Mahat, Bal Krishna Khand, Ajaya Chaurasiya and Surendra Pandey, among others, had supported Paudel´s proposal of bringing a no-trust motion. They argued that Maoists could become flexibile on contentious issues to help bring new constitution on time only if they are not in power.
The leaders advocating a no-trust motion argued that they will have sufficient majority in parliament as lawmakers belonging to the Mohan Baidya faction of the UCPN (Maoist) were ready to support NC´s proposal to topple the current government and to form a national consensus government.
However, General Secretary Sitaula had argued that a no-trust motion is not a good idea. "We don´t have sufficient votes in parliament in the first place. And a no-trust motion will adversely affect the process of seeking consensus on contentious issues of the new constitution," the leader quoted Sitaula as saying at the meeting.
Sitaula argued that NC would have to take all the blame for non-promulgation of the new constitution if the party brought a no-trust motion right ahead of the expiry of the CA term. NC lawmakers Narahari Acharya, Gagan Thapa, Chandra Bhandari, Usha Gurung and Kamala Thapa, among others, supported Sitaula´s argument.
Talking to media persons later, Sitaula said that the meeting decided in favor of promulgating the new constitution within the stipulated deadline of May 27 and taking initiative toward forming an NC-led consensus government before that deadline. "The meeting has assigned the top leaders to work toward forming the national consensus government. They will discuss ways to form such a government," he said.
He also said there was unanimous voice from all leaders speaking at the meeting that an NC-led national consensus government was a must as per the seven-point agreement of November 1, 2011.
Meanwhile, the NC has issued a whip to all its lawmakers to be present at its parliamentary party office at 11 am Wednesday to submit their signatures. Sources said the party is also mulling the option of filing a no-confidence motion if there is a possibility of securing enough votes in parliament to topple the government and there is no agreement with the Maoists on disputed issues by Thursday.
"But there has not been any decision to this effect yet. Even if the party decides to file a no-trust motion, it has to request the speaker in writing to summon a special session within next two days as just 27 days remain for the CA´s term to expire," said a CWC member, asking to be unnamed.