May 31, 2017 03:00 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 30: The Nepali Congress (NC) has initiated moves to form a new government as per a call by President Bidya Devi Bhandari five days ago. NC wants to form the new government under its own leadership.
The largest political party in parliament called an all-party meeting at the Constituent Assembly (CA) Building at New Baneshwor Tuesday morning to seek support for a consensus government under its leadership. President Bhandari on May 25 asked the political parties to for a consensus government within seven days as per Article 298 (2) of the new constitution.
At the outset of the meeting, NC President Deuba said that NC as the largest party in parliament was taking the initiative to form a new government. He then solicited support from all parties for a consensus government under NC leadership.
Although the CPN (Maoist Center) that stepped down from the government last week as per an informal understanding with the NC committed its support to an NC-led government, the main opposition CPN-UML stayed away from the meeting.
According to senior Maoist Center leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who was present at the meeting, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Chairman Kamal Thapa indicated that his party would extend its support to the new government. RPP leaders argued that it would have been better if the UML was included in the meeting.
Deuba told the meeting that he would talk to UML leaders in person to persuade them to join the new government under his leadership.
Also speaking during the meeting, various political parties including Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Nepal Family Party urged Deuba to first reach an agreement with the major parties. The parties, according to Shrestha, said that they would decide whether to support an NC-led government after holding discussions within their respective parties.
Leaders of the newly-formed Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) made it clear that they would not support the new government as the promises made to them by the Dahal government had not been met. Top RJPN leaders had chosen to go instead to a meeting with Indian ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri at Lainchaur, sending their second-rung leaders to the meeting called by Deuba.
The absence of the UML from the meeting and the decision of the agitating RJPN not to extend its support effectively thwart the possibility of Deuba forming a consensus government.
UML Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader Subas Nembang said the UML had already informed NC that it would not attend the all-party meeting called by Deuba. "It was NC that argued that the two big parties should not be part of the government when UML sought to form a national consensus government last year for implementing the new constitution . As the invitation letter mentioned that the meeting was being called to form a new government under NC, we thought it was not necessary to attend," Nembang told Republica.