KATHMANDU, Nov 11: The ruling and opposition parties are now clearly on a collision course.
Shortly after the opposition parties announced a month-long protest to unseat Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and pave the way for the ´formation of a national consensus government´, a meeting of the ruling parties held Saturday evening decided to forward an ordinance of the new budget to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Monday.
The meeting held at the official residence of the prime minister at Baluwatar also decided to announce a fresh date of Constituent Assembly (CA) elections on November 22--original date announced by the Bhattarai-led government on May 27 to hold the polls. The decision comes in the wake of Election Commission (EC) saying that November 22 poll was not possible.
Talking to Republica, the prime minister´s political advisor, Devendra Paudel, said they have decided to forward a budget ordinance to President Dr Yadav even if there is no consensus among the political parties.
"The government, the party and the alliance [Federal Democratic Republican Alliance] will put in efforts till tomorrow [Sunday] to reach consensus on a new budget. We have reached a decision to forward the budget ordinance to the president on Monday [even if there is no consensus]," he said.
Paudel said the government reached the decision after officials from the National Planning Commission and the Finance Ministry officially informed the prime minister that preparations for the budget were ´technically´ complete.
Sources said Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has invited former finance ministers to his residence in Lazimpat on Sunday for a meeting on the budget before sending it to the president. Dahal is also scheduled to hold a meeting with the opposition parties on Sunday as a last-ditch effort at consensus, it is stated.
Earlier on Monday, a meeting of the FDRA, which includes parties both in the government and those supporting it, had asked the government to bring a full-fledged budget within the third week of November.
Source said that only representatives of the ruling parties were present at the meeting held at the prime minister´s residence Saturday evening.
Talking to Republica, FDRA spokesperson Prem Bahadur Singh said there was no meeting of the FDRA Saturday evening. "It could have been a decision taken by the parties in the government," he said, adding that there has not been any formal decision of the FDRA to take the budget ordinance to the president on Monday.
Sources said the Bhattarai-led government is also preparing to announce a fresh date of November 22 for CA elections. The CA elections cannot be held on the stipulated date as there has been no consensus among parties on the leadership of a new government for holding the polls.
No resignation before statute
Meanwhile, addressing a rally organized by the Sindhuli district chapter of the UCPN (Maoist) in Sindhulimadi on Saturday, Prime Minister Bhattarai said that he would not quit the government until he accomplished the task of promulgating a new statute.
According to RSS, the prime minister also termed the demand of the opposition parties for him to quit the government as ´meaningless´. "Once a certain process is started, the same government requires time to end the problem. The current government is capable enough to give a way out. Nowhere in the world has a government quit without an alternative in place," he added.