Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has held discussion about forming the next government with CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) Chairman Upendra Yadav at the former's residence in Budhanilkantha Tuesday.
The top leaders met to discuss about the next government after President Bidya Devi Bhandari invited parties to form majority government by nine Thursday night. "They talked for around an hour. The discussion focused on recent political developments and how to move forward. The discussions are to continue," an NC source told Setopati about the meeting.
NC General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka and central member Ramesh Lekhak were also present during the discussion.
Deuba has also called a meeting of NC office-bearers later on Tuesday to discuss formation of the next government.
Issuing a statement a few hours after Speaker Agni Sapkota wrote to the President's Office informing that Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has failed the floor test in the House of Representatives (HoR) Monday evening, the President's Office invited two or more than two parties to form majority government as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution by nine Thursday night.
The motion for confidence vote presented by PM Oli received only 93 votes on Monday while 124 lawmakers voted against the government and 15 decided to neither support nor oppose the motion.
Twenty-eight lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction of CPN-UML did not attend the House proceedings despite the ruling party issuing a whip instructing all the lawmakers to vote in support of the motion.
The current strength of HoR is 271 after Maoist Center expelled four lawmakers who joined CPN-UML after the Supreme Court (SC) invalidated unification of UML and Maoist Center on March 7.
Ruling UML currently has 121 lawmakers, NC 63 (but two are suspended), Maoist Center—that earlier Tuesday decided to withdraw support from the Oli government, has 49 (including Speaker), JSP 34 (including two suspended) and three lawmakers are independent.
The parties will have to muster support of 136 lawmakers to form the majority government as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution.
JSP is currently divided on whether to form a government excluding UML or not. JSP leaders Baburam Bhattarai and Upendra Yadav, coming from erstwhile Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, publicly demanded toppling of Oli government and want to form a majority government with NC and Maoist Center while leaders from the erstwhile Rashtriya Janata Party like Thakur and Rajendra Mahato were negotiating with Oli and are unwilling to join the alliance with NC and Maoist Center.
Thakur reiterated the stance in the midnight statement claiming that the party's objective is not to form an alternative government and doing so would be against the interests of Madhesi people.
If the parties fail to convince the Thakur-Mahato faction of JSP to join the alliance, they will have to count on more than 20 lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML to resign to bring down the strength of House to ensure that they can muster majority even without support of the Thakur-Mahato faction.