Lalitpur, May 23:
Nepali Congress leaders, at the party’s Central Working Committee meeting held at its headquarters at Sanepa, Wednesday rejected the government move to extend the Constituent Assembly term and demanded Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai resign.
They discussed the latest political situation after the government tabled a proposal seeking extension of the CA term by three months Tuesday.
Most leaders expressed their views against the government proposal and asked their ministers to quit the government.
According to central member Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, the central leaders said that Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai should step down and the new constitution should be promulgated in line with the 5-point agreement of the parties.
By 9 in the evening, 18 of the 30 central members present in the meeting spoke and most of them said that the Supreme Court verdict should be respected.
The meeting decided to involve leader Sher Bahadur Deuba in the discussions Thursday before making the final decision.
"Extension of the CA term despite the mandatory verdict of the Supreme Court will be unconstitutional," Mahat said.
Leader Arjun Narsingh KC said that the leaders agreed that the government breached the 5-point deal.
KC said that the CA term would not be extended even if the NC was to lead the new government before May 27.
KC said that the party’s ministers would quit the government.
Emerging from the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Krishna Sitaula said he was no longer in the present cabinet.
He said he had no reason to continue in office as Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai brought the proposal to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) on his own.
"I’m not in the cabinet from today, no matter what decision the party takes," said NC general secretary Sitaula.
He clarified that he could make no objection to the proposal for extending the CA term immediately because he was in the government.
"The PM made the proposal following the prime ministerial system. However, his move was wrong," Sitaula said.
DPM Sitaula expressed his hope that Prime Minister Dr.Bhattarai would tender his resignation.
He said the new constitution could be promulgated by May 27 with consensus.
Only three leaders from Deuba faction, Shankar Bhandari, Khum Bahadur Khadka, and Dr. Minendra Rijal attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led faction of NC held a separate meeting at the NC Parliamentary Party Office at Singha Durbar.
During the meeting, the faction leaders discussed the CA term extension proposal and called the ministers back from the present government.
"But our final stand will be what the party decides on," prominent faction leader Bimalendra Nidhi informed The Rising Nepal. Nepali Congress Wednesday decided to stand against the government proposal to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly.
At a meeting held at president Sushil Koirala’s residence in the morning, the party’s central committee demanded that the constitution should be promulgated by the May 27 deadline. "We cannot agree with the proposal to add the CA term," he said.
The central leaders also expressed their dissatisfaction with general secretary and Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Sitaula for forwarding the proposal without consulting with the party. They also demanded that the party call back its ministers from the government.