Top leaders assure of consensus to prez by Saturday
KOSH RAJ KOIRALA
KATHMANDU, Dec 21: Major political parties have reiterated to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav that they would reach consensus by Saturday-- the fifth deadline given by the president.
At a meeting held at the President´s Office in Shital Niwas Thursday evening, top leaders of UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) assured the president that he would be able to fly to India leaving a full-fledged government back home. The president is scheduled to fly to India on Monday.
According to the president´s press advisor Rajendra Dahal, leaders of all political parties told the president that they would reach consensus by Saturday. "We have almost reached close to agreement. We will reach an agreement by Saturday," Dahal quoted the leaders as saying to the president.
Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who left the meeting venue a little earlier, said the parties would reach consensus. "I can now say with confidence that the country is heading toward consensus," Dahal told media persons.
The commitment of the top leaders to the president came hours after the ruling Federal Democratic Republican Alliance reiterated its stance that Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai wouldn´t step down unless there was package deal among the parties. "The prime minister has said that he would abide by the agreement between the political parties. I am fully confident that the prime minister would play a role to help forge consensus and implement it," NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula told Republica after the meeting.
Top leaders of major parties involved in negotiations have reached an understanding to forward a package deal directly to the president for endorsement if the prime minister decided to reject it.
But if there was a positive response from the prime minister, parties have decided to first forward it to the prime minister and then to the president.
While Chairman Dahal and another senior leader Amik Sherchan participated in the meeting from Maoist, President Sushil Koirala and General Secretary Sitaula were present in the meeting from the NC. Likewise, Tarai Madhesi Democratic Party (TMDP) Chairman Mahantha Thakur and Madhesi People´s Rights Forum -Democratic Chairman Coordinator Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar from United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) and Chairman Jhalanath Khanal from UML attended the meeting that lasted for about two hours.
TMDP Chairman Thakur said parties are trying to find a prime ministerial candidate acceptable to all.
NC General Secretary Krishna Sitaula had held a series of meeting with various leaders including Maoist Chairman Dahal, Gachchhadar, UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato earlier in the day.
Situala said they have almost reached a package deal on all issues including formation of a new government, amendment to the election-related laws and constitutional provisions and announcement of the date for fresh CA polls.