PM open to all options‚ even revival of CA : Says his is not a caretaker govt but one that will hold elections

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai today said he was ready for all options that parties forge consensus on, including revival of the dissolved Constituent Assembly.

PM Bhattarai had been opposing the idea of reviving the CA, claiming that would be unconstitutional as per the Supreme Court’s ruling. However, Bhattarai today said he would not oppose the idea if all the parties agreed to revive the CA with consent from the apex court.

“I think there is no alternative to fresh CA polls as per the Supreme Court’s verdict. If the apex court permits and the parties agree for reinstatement, I have no objection. Rather, I will be happy because my cabinet had moved a bill seeking CA’s extension, which was halted due to the court’s order,” he said. He added that the apex court’s view should be sought before opting for reinstatement.

Talking to journalists at his residence in Baluwatar, he said that as per the interim constitution, it was not the President’s job to seek consensus on contentious issues. “The parties should reach understanding first, and then the Cabinet recommends to the President, who finally endorses the decision. It is a provision in the interim constitution,” he said.

Asked about the legitimacy of his government, Bhattarai said his government was not a caretaker one but one that would hold election.

Talking to journalists at his official residence in Baluwatar, Bhattarai rejected the President’s ‘memo’ on his caretaker status after the CA’s dissolution and said, “This is not a caretaker government, but one that will hold election. Where has been stated that I am a caretaker PM?” He said the government would continue preparations for election even as dialogue among parties continue.

On his controversial statement at Tribhuvan International Airport he said it was necessary to make the parties realise that this government would hold the election as per international practice. “There is no provision to remove me constitutionally. Jhala Nath and Shushil Koirala refused to sit for talks before my departure for Brazil,” he said, adding there was no alternative to political consensus and they must talk sooner or later.

He categorically said there must be three agreements among the parties: Firstly, parties must ensure the constitution; secondly, legal and constitutional ways should be finalised, and lastly, there must be a power sharing deal. He said the parties should now begin discussions to garner at least two-third majority on the remaining issues of the constitution, including identity-based federalism.

On media reports that Sher Bahadur Deuba’s accusation that Bhattarai had rejected the proposal for imposing emergency to save the CA, he said that was a white lie.

On the government’s preparation for a full-fledged budget, Bhattarai said that was essential to improve the deteriorating economic situation and also to create conducive environment to attract investment.

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