KATHMANDU, Nov 13: As talks among the top leaders from three major political parties failed to reach any agreement with regard to bringing new annual budget, the government deferred its plan to forward budget ordinance to the president for endorsement.
The government plan to unveil new budget on Monday faced a serious blow also because the finance minister´s efforts to convince President Ram Baran Yadav didn´t yield any positive result.
The Ministry of Finance has already readied a full budget of around Rs 460 billion to replace the present one-third budget for 2012/13 and the government was scheduled to forward it to the president for endorsement.
"For now, we have deferred the plan for a couple of days as opposition parties remained rigid against the government plan to bring new budget," Prime Minister´s Political Advisor Devendra Paudel told Republica. According to him, the government will try its best to garner opposition parties´ consent on the matter. "The government will use all options to convince the opposition parties for the next three days," he explained.
Paudel said that the ruling parties chose to defer the government plan for a couple of days as the president also suggested to the government to make efforts for political understanding among the major political forces prior to forwarding the ordinance to him.
He also made it clear that the government decided not to make haste in forwarding the budget ordinance so as to avoid disapproval from the head of state. "We chose to make some more efforts to win opposition´s consent instead of having to see the ordinance returned by the president," said Paudel.
The president is already sitting on several ordinances forwarded by the government after the status of the present ruling coalition was rendered to a caretaker´s following the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. President Ram Baran Yadav in the first week of June declared that the present government´s status has been a caretaker´s with the dissolution of the 601-member CA on May 27.
Officials at the president´s office said the institution doesn´t believe in government bringing the budget ordinance without political consensus.
"The president´s office believes that the government will bring the budget only in consensus because there is no other provision in the Interim Constitution in this connection," the president´s press advisor Rajendra Dahal told Republica. "All the leaders including the president, the prime minister and chiefs of major parties are well aware of the fact and they are working hard for forging consensus."
President Ram Baran Yadav has called top leaders of three major political parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML -- along with leaders from Madhes-based parties for Tuesday to discuss ways on ending the overall political stalemate.
"The meeting is to discuss on seeking broader political solution and the budget issue is one of the agenda items for the discussion," said the president´s press advisor Dahal.
The ruling UCPN (Maoist) and other ruling parties have been arguing that no political party should stop the budget because such a move would push the country into a financial crisis. But the opposition parties have been insisting that the present caretaker government has no constitutional as well as political mandate to unveil full-fledged budget. They have already announced a month-long agitation to oust the present government and form a new government to hold fresh elections in coming April-May.
Leaders from opposition Nepali Congress and CPN-UML boycotted the meeting called by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at his residence on Sunday saying that the NC and UML would not talk only the budget issue in isolation.
The three leaders -- Dahal, NC President Sushil Koirala and CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal -- held talks at Singha Durbar on Monday on broader political issues including budget, but they couldn´t make any headway.
"I tried to convince them on bringing the budget but in vain," Dahal told reporters after the meeting. "But we will still continue talks on bringing the budget through consensus."
Koirala said that NC is against allowing the government to bring full-fledged budget "because unveiling new budget through ordinance is against the fundamental spirit of democracy".
Similarly, Khanal made it clear that the opposition parties were very clear that they can´t reach any deal without first replacing the present government with a new election-government to be formed based on broader political consensus.