Nepal PM Bhattarai under pressure to quit

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has come under pressure to quit as President Ram Baran Yadav stepped up legal and political consultations to get over the current impasse.

Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), two major democratic forces, demanded that Bhattarai must quit immediately and pave the way for a consensus replacement.

"The current government, led by Bhattarai, must go as it has been functioning with the intention of foisting dictatorship in the country," UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal said in a separate statement and asked the President to begin proceedings to find a consensual candidate to run the country and steer it off the current political crisis.

The two leaders also said the election recommended by Prime Minister Bhattarai on November 22 did not have any constitutional validity as it was a decision taken bypassing the political parties and coalition partners.

Another senior UML leader Bamdev Gautam said the election to the Constituent Assembly could not take place again and again, and "we have to find a way out".

President Yadav, who has been consulting political and legal experts , has been advised to promote and "encourage consensual approach". But with divisions among the big political parties and souring inter-party relations, possibility of such a consensus appears nowhere in sight.

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