Sushil solicits TMDP support for nat'l consensus govt
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
KATHMANDU, June 29: Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala has solicited support from the ruling Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) for forming a national consensus government.
During a one-hour meeting held in Maharajgunj Thursday morning, Koirala urged TMDP Chairman Mahantha Thakur to exert pressure on caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to step down to pave the way for forming a national consensus government.
He also asked Thakur to join the alliance of various opposition parties, including CPN-UML, led by NC.
Sources close to Koirala said the NC president asked Thakur not to believe what the Maoists say in public. “The Maoists are bent on seizing state powers. TMDP should support us,” Koirala was quoted as telling Thakur.
Koirala told Thakur that the unilaterally announced CA election is the strategy of the Maoists to prolong stay in power and to ultimately seize state powers. He also claimed that the Bhattarai-led government cannot hold CA election as there has to be consensus among the political parties to amend related laws and constitutional provisions.
NC had earlier held a joint meeting with the top leaders of UCPN (Maoist), CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), an alliance of various five Madhes-based parties, including the TMDP, as a part of the party´s decision to take proactive initiatives for consensus.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, Thakur said there is no alternative to forging national consensus to bail the country out of the current constitutional crisis.
During the meeting, Thakur had suggested to NC to be flexible on the issues raised by Madhes-based parties. “Madhes-based parties will support NC-led national consensus government if the party supports issues raised by Madhesi parties,” a source quoted Thakur as telling Koirala.
TMDP leaders said the current government would have no moral ground to stay in power if it fails to bring amendments in the constitution and other related laws through political consensus by July 22 in view of the Election Commission (EC) demanding at least 120 days for necessary preparations.
Party insiders say TMDP along with other constituent parties is scheduled to review the decision on supporting the Bhattarai-led government after July 22. "The CA election is not possible by shutting out parties like NC and UML. There must be consensus among all the parties in line with the spirit of interim constitution," said TMDP Joint General Secretary Jitendra Sonal.
NC under pressure for CA revival
Altogether 76 of the total 113 former CA members of NC have submitted a memorandum to party president Sushil Koirala to formally demand CA revival.
During their meeting with Koirala, former CA members argued that it would be more practicable to revive CA to endorse statute than to hold fresh election. They also said that the parties should first arrive at consensus on all contentious issues, including federalism and system of governance, through negotiations before reviving the CA.
According to former CA member Jiwan Prem Shrestha, Koirala has taken the demand positively. “The party president has assured us that he would take up the issue in the CWC meeting. He seems convinced with our argument”," said Shrestha.