Prachanda's offer of key ministerial berths rejected by Oppn

Maoist chief Prachanda

Seeking to break the political deadlock plaguing Nepal, Maoist chief Prachanda today extended an olive branch to main opposition parties NC and CPN-UML asking them to choose key Cabinet posts under a proposed unity government led by his party, an offer outrightly rejected by them.

Prachanda's offer came after a high-level meeting of the ruling Maoist party.

The former Prime Minister told reporters that his party would let the two opposition parties -- Nepali Congress and CPN-UML -- choose their ministries if they agreed to unite behind a Maoist-led government.

Prachanda also claimed that factions within both the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML were positive towards his proposal.

Reacting to his offer, Nepali Congress General Secretary Prakash Man Singh said, "There is no question of joining a Maoist-led government as the Maoist party has lost both Constitutional and moral ground to take charge of government leadership."

He claimed the Maoists have tried to rule the country unilaterally, undermining both tasks of establishing peace and drafting a Constitution.

The Nepali Congress cannot join a government led by the Maoist party, which is mainly responsible for the present constitutional and political crisis, he maintained.

"Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai unilaterally dissolved the Constituent Assembly on May 27 without drafting the Constitution and he has also failed to conduct election on the stipulated date of November 22, so there is no possibility of our party joining the government under the Maoist leadership," Singh said.

CPN-UML General Secretary Shanker Pokharel also ruled out the possibility of his party joining a Maoist-led government.

"There is no possibility of our party joining a Maoist- led government and we are totally against formation of such a government," he said.

Pokharel also contradicted the Maoist chief's remarks that a faction of his party had shown positive gesture towards his offer of ministerial berths.

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