KATHMANDU, Nov 2: Top leaders from the major political parties during the multilateral talks on Thursday failed to even hold agenda-wise discussions, let alone make any headway in resolving the contentious issues.
A meeting of top leaders from UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and Madhes-based parties ended inconclusively immediately after UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal urged the opposition parties -- NC and CPN-UML -- to join the current ruling coalition and go for fresh polls.
No sooner had Dahal floated the proposal to transform the current coalition into the one that would hold election with NC and CPN-UML on board, CPN-UML leader and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal not only turned down the proposal outright but also made it clear that the NC and CPN-UML wouldn´t hold further talks with the Maoist leaders.
Nepal said that Thursday´s talks ended inconclusively due to the Maoist leaders´ intent to give continuity to the present government. "Dahal proposed giving continuity to the present government but I rejected it outright," Nepal told Republica. NC President Sushil Koirala and CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal also seconded Nepal.
NC and CPN-UML leaders were very critical against Dahal´s proposal so much that they told the Maoist chairman that they wouldn´t even sit even for talks with the Maoist leaders. Then, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (Democratic) Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and Tarai-Madhesh Democratic Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur suggested the leaders not to be so rigid and rule out talks.
Nepal said NC and CPN-UML leaders were not hopeful of making any progress in the days to come. "The major problem lies in the UCPN (Maoist) leaders because they neither want to go for fresh polls nor are they sincere toward bringing the new constitution," said Nepal. "The recent Maoist proposals show that they want to prolong their stay in power."
According to CPN-UML leader Krishna Lal Maharjan, the Maoist chairman had at the meeting proposed transforming the present Maoist-Madhesi coalition into the government that would hold election and take initiatives to amend election-related laws and provisions in the interim constitution through ordinances. Dahal, Koirala, Khanal, Nepal, Gachhadar and Thakur held the talks at Maharjan´s residence in Balkumari, Lalitpur.
Dahal had proposed forming a taskforce comprising leaders from all the four sides -- UCPN (Maoist), NC, CPN-UML and the Madhes-based parties -- to lay the grounds for holding election.
"But Madhav Nepalji clearly told Prachandaji that Baburam Bhattarai´s name is simply unacceptable to NC and CPN-UML. Sushilji and Jhalanathji also seconded him," Maharjan told Republica.
Also, Khanal, while emerging from the meeting, told reporters that no decision was taken at the meeting. Asked why they failed to make any progress, Khanal quipped, "There are various reasons." He also said that they would hold the next round of talks though there is “little prospect” for talks to yield results.
However, Dahal expressed hopes of making headway in the talks to be held on Friday.
The leaders were expected to take decisions on pressing political issues such as holding fresh CA election or reviving the CA r and the new budget.
Leaders from the ruling as well as opposition parties remain sharply divided over the two options-- going for fresh election or reviving the CA for the purpose of completing the unfinished task of constitution writing. Similarly, while the ruling parties have been insisting on bringing a full-fledged budget by mid-November, opposition parties have vowed to foil the ruling parties´ plan.