Cross-party meet fails to take off

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Apr 21, 2015-

The high-level meeting between top leaders of major political parties could not take place on Tuesday after confusion over who would lead the talks on behalf of the Nepali Congress.

This comes a day after the parties agreed to draft the settled issues of new constitution and continue talks on remaining issues, especially on federalism, until the next Constituent Assembly meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Nepali Congress President and Prime Minister Sushil Koirala embarked on a week-long visit to Indonesia on Monday to attend the Asian-African Summit. In his absence, he is said to have entrusted party Vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel to hold discussions with chiefs of the CPN-UML and the UCPN (Maoist). Poudel, however, was in his home constituency in Tanahu.

“We are here in Tanahu and will arrive in the Capital tomorrow,” Poudel’s aide said when the Post tried to speak to Poudel.

NC General Secretary Krishna Sitaula and senior party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba have been claiming to lead the party during the negotiations.

“It is not clear who would be leading their party. We are informed that Koirala had assigned Sitaula to lead during the talks, although Poudel was also told in presence of the media to lead the NC in the PM’s absence,” said a UML leader.

The opposition parties have been accusing the ruling parties of not giving enough priority to the constitution writing debate. “There was no serious discussion today as promised,” confirmed UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s personal secretary Chooda Mani Khadka.

Khadka expressed doubts whether Thursday’s meeting would make any substantive progress on the drafting writing.  

Echoing Khadka, UML Secretary Gokarna Bista, who is constantly involved in cross-party negotiations of second rung leaders, does not see an agreement reached on federalism at the moment. “It is not possible to reach a conclusion even with leaders demonstrating flexibility this time around. Thursday’s meeting would do nothing more than announce another round of meets,” said Bista.

Published: 22-04-2015 10:55

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