Koirala meets Sonia, discusses Nepal crisis

August 4th, 2008 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, Aug 4 (IANS) With the clock ticking away for the formation of a new government in Nepal, the country’s caretaker Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and discussed the latest political developments in Nepal. Gandhi conveyed India’s support for the process of democratic transition in Nepal, reliable sources said.

Koirala, leader of the Nepali Congress, which emerged as the second largest political party after the Maoists in the April elections, also met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and discussed with him difficulties dogging the formation of a national consensus government in Nepal.

Koirala also met the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani during his brief stopover visit here on his way back to Kathmandu from Colombo where he had gone to attend the 15th SAARC summit.

Koirala’s brief transit visit to India comes a day after he met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Colombo on the sidelines of the SAARC summit.

More than three months after a national election, Nepal is yet to get an elected government due to deepening differences between the major parties.

Last week, Nepal’s President Ram Baran Yadav called on the Maoists to prove their majority in the constituent assembly within seven days and form a new government.

But with less than 48 hours left, the Maoists are having a difficult time in convincing other political parties to support their efforts at government formation on the basis of a common minimum programme.

The NC has rejected the Maoist demand that it dissolve the three-party alliance that defeated the Maoist candidate at the presidential poll.

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), now the third biggest party and the Maoists’ former ally, is also said to be opposed to the Maoist plan to form a minority government if they fail to put together a consensus or even a majority government.

Koirala’s attendance at the SAARC summit had ignited a controversy in Nepal as both Maoists and CPN-UML wanted President Ram Baran Yadav to represent Nepal at the meet.

The Maoists have announced that that they would go ahead with a minority government if they failed to win the support of the other major parties. This has sparked anxiety among a section of the political establishment in India as New Delhi believes a consensus government has a better chance of bringing stability to the Himalayan state, an official source said.

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