KATHMANDU, Oct 30: As a last-ditch effort to arrive at a consensus and resolve the political deadlock, the three major political parties - UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML - and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) on Tuesday handed over responsibility to their respective top leaders to seek consensus on all contentious issues within the next four days.
A joint meeting of both ruling and opposition parties held at the Special Committee secretariat at New Baneshwor discussed in detail key agenda itmes such as revival of the CA, fresh elections, formation of a new government and unveiling a new budget. The decision comes in the wake of opposition parties announcing intensified protests after the Tihar festival if the government does not step down. It may be recalled that the appex court has already ruled out a revival of the CA.
“Some parties have taken a stance for CA revival and some have been demanding fresh elections but no one is serious about the legal or constitutional barriers that need to be sorted out first,” senior UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal told mediapersons after the meeting.
Nepal informed that the top four leaders have been given responsibility for drafting a proposal regarding the constitution, covering the key points of agreement and disagreement among the political parties and the procedures for promulgating the constitution. “We will decide on the formation of a new government and the procedures related to new elections,” he said.
During the meeting, Nepal had presented seven different agenda items for discussion. “We have a lot to do before we decide either to go for fresh elections or revive the CA with a draft of the agreed points. But for either option, the parties need to bear the appex court verdict in mind and resolve the legal issues,” he added.
The agenda items presented at the meeting were preparing a draft of the agreed points and points of difference, the process for promulgating a new statute, formation of a new government, ways to forge national consensus and preparations for holding fresh elections in April.
Though consensus on these key issues appears hard to attain for now, as the opposition parties are demanding immediate resignation of the prime minister, the parties have vowed to resolve the deadlock before Tihar through negotiations.
Though the ruling parties tried to solicit support for unveiling a new annual budget by mid-November, as vital government agencies already face a budget crunch, opposition parties are demanding that the issues be discussed in a package deal.
“We held discussions on all key issues as a final attempt at agreement before going on strike against the government. Top leaders will continue holding similar discussions for a few days to arrive at consensus,” said Vice-chairman of Nepali Congress Ram Chandra Paudel.
But the government irritated them by trying to seek support for unveiling the annual budget, he added.
NC and UML leaders insisted that the budget should be brought by a new government formed through political consensus.
UCPN (Maoist) spokesperson Agni Sapkota, on behalf of the ruling parties, said that the discussions had made headway. “The parties begun on a new course to arrive at consensus on the contentious issues before changing the government," he said.
Rajendra Mahato, chairman of Sadbhawana Party, said on behalf of the UDMF, “We requested the political parties to get out of the confusion regarding CA revival or fresh elections and arrive at a common meeting point as soon as possible.”