Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) have concluded that the possibility of forming a majority government has almost ended.
"The possibility of forming majority government with two or more than two parties has ended after the Khanal-Nepal faction of CPN-UML failed to take decision and the differences inside Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) remains," a top NC leader confided.
A Maoist leader also confirmed that the possibility of the parties staking claims for majority government has almost ended. "We have now given up hope," the Maoist leader stated.
NC and Moist Center were counting on at least 20 lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction resigning as assured by the faction until Thursday morning. But the lawmakers seem unlikely to resign due to differences within the faction and efforts by CPN-UML Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli to resolve the intra-party dispute.
NC and Maoist Center, however, have yet to formally announce that they will not stake claims for majority government before the deadline of nine Thursday night issued by President Bidya Devi Bhnadari expires. They are awaiting the final decision from the Khanal-Nepal faction that had issued an ultimatum to Oli to meet its demands by four in the afternoon.
NC is holding meeting of office-bearers and the Maoists are holding standing committee meeting in the meanwhile.
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.
UML currently has 121 lawmakers, NC 63 (but two are suspended), Maoist Center 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 and Mahato on Wednesday met President Bidya Devi Bhandari and reportedly urged her to reject the proposal if another Chairman Upendra Yadav sends a letter to form majority government. They pointed that Yadav is the second-ranked chairman and the Election Commission also recognizes Thakur's signature.
More than 20 lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML will have to resign to bring down the strength of House to ensure that the parties can muster majority even without support of the Thakur-Mahato faction of JSP.