KATHMANDU, July 20: At a time when former lawmakers from various political parties are making cross-party alliances to exert pressure for the revival of the Constituent Assembly (CA), two main opposition parties -- Nepali Congress and CPN-UML -- have cold-shouldered the demand, arguing that a fresh mandate of the people is the best option both constitutionally and politically.
While the UML already made its views against the demand public on Wednesday, an upcoming Central Working Committee (CWC) of the NC is all set to dismiss the idea of CA revival.
Party insiders in the NC say an overwhelming majority of NC CWC members are against revival of the CA.
A few weeks ago, 76 out of the total of 113 lawmakers from the NC had submitted a memorandum to the party president, Sushil Koirala, demanding that the party forcefully raise the demand for CA revival. Koirala had then assured the former lawmakers that he would include their demand in the agenda for discussions at the party´s CWC meeting.
A CWC meeting of the NC is scheduled to be held before a gathering of the party´s district presidents, in Sindhupalchowk on July 30, takes a formal decision whether to opt for CA revival. "In my reading, not even a dozen CWC members are in favor of reviving the CA. Most CWC members are in favor of fresh elections," said a senior CWC member asking to remain unnamed.
However, the NC leaders rooting for a fresh mandate are not unanimous whether to go for a fresh CA poll or for parliamentary elections.
Though the establishment faction leaders have not yet made their stance on the issue public, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led faction has maintained that fresh CA elections would be the best option.
"While a fresh CA election is the best option, I see the revival of the CA after settling all the contentious issues of constitution writing including number and names of federal provinces as a good option," said Bimalendra Nidhi, who is close to the Deuba faction in the party.
A section of NC leaders are apprehensive that revival of the CA would be tantamount to reviving the idea of single-ethnicity based federal provinces, while many others maintain that it will be both constitutionally and politically wrong to demand any revival of the ´automatically dead´ CA.
A standing committee meeting of the UML on Wednesday had decided to seek fresh parliamentary elections with a proposal to allow parliament to function as CA for a brief period. The party has set formation of a national consensus government as a precondition for holding elections to bail the country out of the current constitutional and political crisis.
Though both the UML and NC seem to be in favor of fresh elections, they are obviously not in favor of the November 22 poll announced by the Maoist-led government. "Nothing is possible without political consensus now. Whether to go for fresh elections or for revival of the CA depends on consensus among parties," Nidhi added.